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The New Dealer

The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

Exploring Therapeutic Approaches: Mental Illness vs. Personal Growth


Therapy is frequently viewed only as a response to mental illness, perpetuating the misconception that seeking psychological care is only for individuals suffering from serious mental health concerns. However, therapy is a diverse and helpful tool for both treating mental diseases and promoting personal growth. 

Therapy for Mental Illness.

When treating mental illnesses, therapy approaches are typically more structured and goal-oriented, with an emphasis on symptom relief and functional development. Some of the most commonly used therapies are:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a popular method for helping people identify and address harmful thought patterns and behaviors. It works particularly well for sadness, anxiety, and PTSD.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Developed initially for borderline personality disorder, DBT blends cognitive-behavioral treatments with mindfulness strategies. It focuses on teaching coping techniques for stress management, emotional regulation, and relationship improvement.

Medication Management: When mental illnesses include a biological component, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, therapy is frequently supplemented with medication. Psychiatrists collaborate with therapists to ensure a thorough therapy strategy.

Therapy for Personal Growth.

While treating mental illness frequently necessitates precise and rigorous sessions, personal growth therapy is more adaptable, exploratory, and comprehensive. It seeks to improve an individual’s total health, self-awareness, and potential. Some common ways are:

Humanistic therapy is based on the notion that people have an innate capacity for self-actualization. It emphasizes personal growth, self-esteem, and realizing one’s greatest potential. Carl Rogers pioneered techniques such as person-centered therapy, which emphasizes a non-directive, sympathetic approach.

Positive Psychology: This approach emphasizes strengths over flaws. Therapists work with individuals to develop positive feelings, involvement, and meaning in their lives. It’s perfect for people looking to increase their happiness and fulfillment.

Therapy for both!

Certain therapeutic approaches are versatile enough to address both mental health issues and personal growth, demonstrating the fluidity of therapy’s application. For instance:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): ACT helps individuals accept their thoughts and feelings rather than fight them and commit to actions that align with their values. This approach is effective for both managing mental health symptoms and enhancing life satisfaction.

Narrative Therapy: This approach involves rewriting one’s personal story to create a more empowering narrative. It’s beneficial for those dealing with trauma or life changes and those seeking to redefine their identity and purpose.

Integrative Therapy: Integrative therapists draw from multiple therapeutic modalities to tailor their approach to the individual’s unique needs, whether they are addressing mental illness or pursuing personal growth.


The misconception that therapy is solely for those with mental illness overlooks the many diverse therapeutic approaches available today. Therapy can be a valuable resource for anyone trying to enhance their quality of life, develop a better understanding of themselves, or deal with life’s obstacles. Recognizing the various therapeutic approaches accessible allows us to recognize that therapy is a personalized tool for a wide range of needs rather than a one-size-fits-all answer.

Ultimately, therapy is about developing a better understanding of oneself and improving one’s ability to live a meaningful life. Whether conquering a mental disease or seeking personal improvement, the correct therapeutic approach can make all the difference.

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