Medicine has begun recognizing that there is more to patient care than setting a broken leg or prescribing the correct antidepressant. Many practitioners now acknowledge the value of treating the entire patient holistically.
As such, practitioners have designed multiple new treatment modalities to address a host of mental and physical ailments. Explore these eight unique therapies for 2021 — could one or more work for you?
1. Equine Therapy
Animals are a tremendous source of emotional support, particularly for patients with trust issues surrounding other human beings. Caring for another living creature is therapeutic, and tending to one as massive as a horse is a whole new experience.
Equine therapy has you grooming and feeding a horse. This treatment modality helps teach skills like emotional regulation — you have to stay calm to avoid panicking an animal that outweighs you by several hundred pounds. Plus, it’s fun. Who wouldn’t enjoy a ride on a majestic creature to conclude their counseling session?
To successfully overcome mental health challenges such as addiction, you need to develop a sense of inner balance. What better way to do so than climbing aboard a vessel that rocks from side to side on the waves?
Boating therapy encourages creativity and spontaneity by breaking patients free from the confines of therapy offices and classrooms and getting them into the fresh air. Participants learn valuable skills such as teamwork on the water that translate into better coping mechanisms and decision-making in daily life.
Ayurvedic medicine is more than 3,000 years old — what is it doing on a list of unique modern therapies? The difference lies in combining eastern and western medicinal techniques to bring about optimal health.
Unlike western medicine, which takes an allopathic approach to fix specific problems — like setting a broken leg — Ayurveda encompasses the whole person, body, and mind. Ayurvedic practices might include changes to your diet, adopting a yoga routine, and participating in regular acupuncture and massage therapy sessions.
The best part? Your insurance may now cover such treatments. Check with your provider to review your benefits.
4. Bodywork and Movement Therapy
Bodywork and movement therapy involves using your physical self to heal your mind. For example, yoga therapy is vital for helping victims of sexual abuse reconnect with themselves and their sense of agency over their bodies.
This treatment modality can take various forms. You can use many of the techniques yourself to improve your life by incorporating mindfulness into your workout routine. For example, the next time you go for a walk, focus on how each step feels as your feet strike the earth. Absorb the impact through your legs and feel the breeze against your skin. Pause to observe what you see, hear, feel and taste. Savor the sensation of your well-worked muscles after a run.
5. Attachment-Based Therapy
Psychologists state that people have four primary attachment styles. These develop in early childhood based on your relationship with your caregivers:
- Secure: People with a secure attachment style typically had a healthy upbringing. They can form relationships based on mutual trust and understanding.
- Anxious: People with this attachment style are insecure and tend to be clingy in relationships. They may unwittingly push romantic partners away with excessive demands or become helicopter parents with their children.
- Avoidant: People with this attachment style fear commitment and approach others with an attitude of mistrust. They avoid getting close to others, remaining an aloof persona.
- Disorganized (fearful-avoidant): People with this attachment style often suffered severe trauma in their early years. They may desperately want to get close and cling in some situations, then become cold and push people away in a desperate attempt to keep from being abandoned “first.”
Attachment-based therapy works to move you toward a more secure attachment style. It includes various exercises to help you build trust.
Hypnotherapy is another old-yet-new modality, similar to Ayurveda. Hypnosis is somewhat akin to sleep, inducing a dreamlike state. Some professionals believe the practice taps into your subconscious mind, while others believe it prompts your brain to release neurochemicals that foster healing.
Some psychotherapists use hypnotherapy in their sessions, but not all have the training to do so. Since there are no formal licensing procedures for such professionals in the United States, talk to your provider about their education in the practice.
7. Existential Therapy
What is the meaning of life? Your answer could impact your mental health and recovery.
Existential therapy builds upon the work of psychological greats like Viktor Frankl. It focuses on your unique capacity for self-awareness as a human being. It encourages you to recreate your identity in alignment with your values and understanding of the deeper meaning of existence.
8. Spiritually-Oriented Psychotherapy
If you are strong in your religious faith, spiritually-oriented psychotherapy might be for you. The concept isn’t new. Anyone familiar with the 12-steps knows the second step involves accepting that a power greater than yourself can return you to sanity.
Your religious leaders might be your best recommendation source for such therapies. You still want to choose a provider who is licensed under your state law to provide counseling services.
Try One of These 8 Unique Therapies in 2021
Science continues to discover new and innovative methods to help people reach wellness. Why not try one of these eight unique therapies in 2021 and feel your absolute best?