The Complementary Roles of Medications and Counselling or Therapy for Psychological Distress

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Although some professionals strictly value one or the other (counselling or drugs), in the view of this site both approaches to psychological distress may be chosen by well informed consumers.

Drugs vs. Counselling

At one extreme, some mental health professionals are incredibly eager to gain the legal authority to write prescriptions for clients. At the other extreme, some can scarcely hold a conversation about psychotropic medications without becoming deeply uncomfortable (or profoundly agitated about politics and the medicalization of the person).

There are many worthwhile and fascinating debates to be had in this area, but the approach of this site is pragmatic and begins with two facts:

  • Some drugs help some people experiencing psychological distress.
  • Some counselling helps some people experiencing psychological distress.

The end result?

  • Consumers may make well informed choices to use one, the other, or both — and practitioners should support and work with those choices.

I support those choices in my own practice, and while I am not a physician and do not prescribe drugs to clients, I am perfectly happy to discuss with clients how medications do or do not fit in their lives — their ‘relationships’ with their medications, so to speak.

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Drugs for Treating Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Other Distress

Many of the so-called mental disorders explored within this section — including depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and more — are being successfully treated with medications (“pharmacotherapy”) as well as counselling and therapy. Some of the latest information available on clinical trials of medications used in mental health are available at our Trial Bulletin site.

All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. This specific article was originally published by on and was last reviewed or updated by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .

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