Looking for ways to enhance the benefits of psychotherapy outside of your sessions? There are a variety of alternative techniques that can add to and shift the way you care for your mental health. While these techniques may not replace your current therapeutic method, they can complement and enhance it by supporting your emotional well-being, promoting self-control, and improving your physical health. Let’s dive right in to this article from Nicole McCray.
Yoga is well known for its mental health benefits and it is a fantastic complement to psychotherapy. Practicing yoga increases your body’s production of feel-good hormones, reduces inflammation throughout the body, and supports healthy sleep patterns. Breath control and relaxation techniques taught in yoga practice have also been shown to slow down the brain’s natural stress response. As an added bonus, it is a mind-body therapy that you can practice almost anywhere, from the beach to your hotel room, or even in your office on your lunch break.
2. Guided Meditation
Guided meditation is an excellent way to relieve stress while improving self-control, memory, and cognitive function. It is easy to practice anywhere, and sessions can be as short as five minutes, or as long as an hour or more. Much like yoga, it triggers the release of “happy hormones” like oxytocin, so it is a great way to support your moods and overall mental health naturally.
3. IV Nutrition Therapy
IV nutrition therapy has become quite popular for improving physical health, but many people do not realize that it can be extremely beneficial for mental health as well. Vitamin IV therapy provides the body with the nutrients it needs to support healing and can be tailored for your specific health goals. For example, an IV drip that “includes vitamin C, B complex, zinc, calcium, and magnesium” can support psychotherapy by “reducing stress and anxiety while improving sleep.”
4. Tai Chi
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese technique consisting of deep breathing, slow-motion exercises, and easy to follow movements. It’s a wonderful complement to psychotherapy and overall mental health because it boosts the mood and reduces feelings of anxiety and depression. Often called “meditation in motion,” tai chi is a wonderful way to support both mental and physical health at the same time.
Biofeedback is a mind-body technique that helps you understand how you physically react to things like trauma, stress, anxiety, and other health issues. It can support psychotherapy by teaching you how to control your physiological symptoms. The technique involves the use of auditory or visual feedback to gain control over involuntary responses, including blood pressure, muscle tension, heart rate, and pain perception. It’s also been shown to improve focus in those with ADHD, relieve the symptoms of PTSD, reduce chronic pain, and much more.
You may be a little skeptical about the effectiveness of hypnotherapy, but when done properly, it can be extremely beneficial for mental health. A licensed hypnotherapist may be able to help you reduce your stress levels, manage chronic pain, and much more. During a hypnotherapy session, the therapist will put you into a suggestible state and help you visualize strategies for change.
7. Wilderness Therapy
Spending time in nature has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, and wilderness therapy is a wonderful way to supplement psychotherapy. Wilderness therapy programs can be as simple as a weekly hike through the woods while chatting with a counselor, but there are also intensive week- or month-long camps designed to connect you with the outdoors. Research shows that the majority of patients maintain positive changes long after completing the program.
8. Chess Therapy
Gathering your thoughts is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in psychotherapy. One rant leads to another and it can feel like you’ve just rambled through the entire session without really resolving anything. Chess therapy is a fairly new concept that helps you organize your thoughts, leading to more productive sessions. It can help you learn to focus, think ahead, and strategize to find solutions.
Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and it’s becoming much more widely accepted as a treatment for both mental and physical health concerns. When it comes to supporting psychotherapy, acupuncture is extremely beneficial because it triggers the release of mood-boosting neurotransmitters, including serotonin and endorphins. It also slows down the stress response and improves sleep, which is extremely valuable for better mental health.
10. Dance/Movement Therapy
The goal of dance/movement therapy is to reconnect your mind and body through movement. It has become a popular treatment for trauma survivors who have difficulty expressing their feelings verbally. Instead, people use movement to express their feelings while relieving anxiety and stress. Exercise is also beneficial for lifting the mood, so dance/movement therapy can be a wonderful way to complement psychotherapy.
These alternative techniques are useful tools for complimenting your psychotherapy sessions. Be sure to choose a reputable teacher or practitioner and check with your primary therapist before you get started. Taking a proactive approach to your mental and physical health can be very empowering and incredibly good for you.