4 Types Of Therapy For Athletes

Presented by BetterHelp.

Almost everyone encounters stress, sadness, or other occasional challenges with their mental health from time to time. For more than a few reasons, though, competitive athletes might be more likely to be exposed to common stressors that sometimes precede symptoms of anxiety and depression. The stress of constant competitions, high pressure to perform at a high level, knowledge that thousands (or more) might be watching their every move, and a high potential for physical injuries can be breeding grounds for anxiety, depression, or even post-traumatic stress disorder.

When you hear “therapy for athletes,” your mind might immediately go to physical therapy or high-tech gadgets for optimal in-game performance. However, mental health is just as important as physical health, and the two are intricately connected. Therefore, athletes could benefit from psychotherapy. Below are a few types of psychotherapy that could be especially productive for athletes.

Creative Therapy

Some people who seek therapy are not completely comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings through talk therapy. Fortunately, there are multiple creative outlets through which therapy clients can work through their emotions under the guidance of a trained therapist. Creative arts therapy can help clients improve interpersonal relationships, provide a distraction from challenging circumstances, and increase their self-esteem.

Art Therapy

You don’t have to be a Van Gogh or Picasso to reap therapeutic benefits from art therapy. You can paint, draw, or digitally design images that (directly or indirectly) provide insight into your mental health. These art creations aren’t necessarily for your therapist or others to critique; instead, with your consent, they may simply admire your work and interpret it based on your mental health journey.

Through the process of choosing a medium, selecting your tools, planning your work of art, and analyzing the end product, you may also improve your self-awareness. If you would like to further explore the potential benefits of art therapy, consider checking out articles and other resources on the subject from BetterHelp: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/what-does-an-art-therapist-do-and-can-they-help-me/

Music Therapy

Music has been called the universal language. Listening to and performing music activates parts of the brain that make it easier to relax and temporarily lessen harsh feelings or emotions. Listening to some types of music has been shown to help combat depression symptoms. If you feel up to it, writing or signing some originals might grant you insights into your mental health and ways to improve your mood.

Dance Therapy

It might seem unorthodox, but lacing up your dancing shoes can provide a nice outlet for expressing some of those unwanted thoughts and working out negative energy. Getting your activity levels up is almost guaranteed to help raise your mood. Dancing with a partner could also benefit your relationship skills and help your daily interactions.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is one of the most used types of psychotherapy for people looking to improve their mental health. The central tenet of CBT is understanding that specific thought or behavioral patterns often contribute to negative feelings. With a therapist’s help, you can spot the beginnings of these unhelpful thoughts—such as, “I’m not good enough at tennis and should give up,” or, “People will think less of me as a person if I don’t sprint faster than my competitors”—and redirect them before they start to affect your mood.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

There is sometimes a wide gap between how we perceive ourselves and how others actually see us. For instance, you might believe you are the worst basketball player in your league if you fail to score points in one game. You might feel this so strongly that it becomes difficult to learn from past performances and improve your abilities. Dialectical behavioral therapy can help you recognize these intense emotions and assess the state of your mental and physical health more objectively.

Group Therapy

Competitive athletes are a special group of people. Many people don’t know what it’s like to undergo the pressures of competing and pushing your body to the limit time and time again. Simply knowing that other people confront the same challenges you do can be quite reassuring, which is why group therapy can be especially beneficial for athletes. You may also find it easier to open up about your mental health when you’re among similar, like-minded people.

Also Read: What Are Cramps : It’s Causes & Solutions For Athletes

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