Complementary therapies are mental health treatment approaches that aren’t normally practiced by Western psychologists and psychiatrists—though they don’t have to be in opposition to conventional Western medicine. Western medicinal therapy, alternative Western therapy, and Eastern approaches to therapy, more often than not, are fully compatible and should all be embraced.
For treating depression and anxiety, no other complimentary therapy is more popular than meditation. Healthyway reports that researchers cite meditation as “one of the most promising areas for effectively treating depression,” especially when blended with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to form Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).  MBCT is an approach to mental health treatment that helps people “recognize, respond, and reverse a potential downward spiral of depression.” In a study of depressives, researchers provided half the group with MBCT, and the other half with medication. The researchers discovered that two years later, the medication group was slightly more likely to relapse than the MBCT group!

Some other complimentary therapies include existential therapy, art therapy, music therapy, integral therapy (combining the best of various approaches), naturopathy (natural treatment methods such as changing diet), and social therapy. When treating a mental health problem, it is wise to experiment with a variety of therapies in order to see what fits us best and in order to reap the varying benefits of differing approaches.

To learn more about mindful complementary therapies, check out this intelligent discussion on solutions to the Western epidemic of labels and pills.

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