Psychiatric Therapy and its Role in Mental Illness

For the effective treatment of those suffering from psychiatric disorders, therapy will invariably take a variety of different forms. In addition to involving the services of a psychiatrist, other specialists, such as psychologists, medical doctors and behavioural therapists may be called upon to ensure a more holistic type of care for the mentally ill patient. Although each of these individuals is a specialist in his or her own right, they differ in terms of their qualifications, their areas of expertise and their specific roles in the treatment process.

To begin with, in order to become a psychiatrist, a candidate must be a qualified medical doctor. The combination of skills means that, in addition to his or her role in the diagnosis of various mental disorders, and in conducting an appropriate course of psychiatric therapy, he or she is also qualified to prescribe suitable medication. These include antidepressants for the treatment of anxiety OCD, PTSD, eating disorders and depression, sedatives and hypnotics to assist with sleep, mood stabilisers for bi-polar patients and stimulants in the treatment of ADHD. Where indicated, the psychiatrist may also prescribe specialised medical interventions such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).

While this may, in itself, appear to be a comprehensive set of responsibilities, at least in the hospital environment, the psychiatrist will frequently be assisted by one or more psychologists. The latter will probably hold a higher degree, possibly in clinical psychology, but their studies do not include medical training. The role of the psychologist in this partnership is usually to provide psychotherapy, a standard component of modern psychiatric therapy, but it may also include the testing and evaluation of patients as a preliminary to compiling their treatment programmes, and as a means to assess their progress.

While much of the focus of such programmes must naturally remain on addressing the mental issues, attending to those other aspects of a patient???s life that may have contributed to the illness in the first place or have since occurred as a result of it has, for some time now, been considered as equally important. This holistic or integrative approach recognises the physical, social and spiritual needs of the individual as being equally important to the success of the rehabilitation process and, indeed, as helping to speed up that process. To meet these additional needs, the efforts of the psychiatrists and psychologist alone are insufficient, and to address this shortfall, the services of an occupational therapist and perhaps a physiotherapist or personal trainer may be called for.

Environment too, is important to the success of psychiatric therapy. It has long been established that peaceful and pleasant surroundings are conducive to the recovery of hospital patients, and this is perhaps even more so in the case of those undergoing treatment for mental illness.

There are few settings more tranquil and beautiful than that of the Beethoven Recovery Centre in Hartbeespoort. Stunning scenic surroundings complemented by elegant d??cor, comfortable accommodation, excellent cuisine, a pool and a gym provide the perfect environment, while our team of specialised psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors and nurses provide world-class, evidence-based treatments to assist our patients in a speedy and lasting recovery.