APA kicks off psychotherapy awareness initiative

APA’s new campaign includes updated brochures, articles and videos that psychologists can share to help educate the public that psychotherapy is effective in treating mental health issues — sometimes more so than drugs.

APA launched a new public awareness campaign in September to help people understand just how effective psychotherapy is in treating depression, anxiety and even stress. The campaign encourages psychologists to use a variety of new materials to spread the word through local media outreach and online social networks. These tools to help build awareness are available on APA’s Psychology Help Center and include the updated brochure “For a Healthy Mind and Body…Talk to a Psychologist,” the myths vs. realities of psychotherapy and “Understanding Psychotherapy and How it Works.”

A series of Web-based animated videos about a fictional miracle drug called “Fixitol” helped launch the campaign. The videos are a parody of drug ads, drawing attention to the value of psychotherapy as a treatment option. While the series favorably compares psychotherapy to drugs, it does not deny the appropriate use of medications in treating some individuals.

Watch both of the “Psychotherapy: More Than a Quick Fix” ads:

“People get a lot of information about drug therapy from commercials and pop culture, but they hear much less about the alternatives,” said Katherine C. Nordal, PhD, APA executive director for professional practice. “We want to arm consumers with information on psychotherapy so when they talk to their primary care practitioners about feeling depressed, anxious or chronically stressed, they know to inquire about psychotherapy as a treatment option.”

APA CEO Norman B. Anderson, PhD, also shares research findings on psychotherapy’s effectiveness in the most recent episode of APA’s video podcast series, “This Is Psychology.” Besides noting that psychotherapy successfully treats mental illness, Anderson stresses that psychotherapy can teach people coping skills they can use throughout their lives.

Watch the full episode:

What you can do

The brochure “For a Healthy Mind and Body…Talk to a Psychologist” explains how practicing psychologists can help people manage their stress and treat depression, anxiety and other behavioral health issues. It also highlights psychologists’ training and education and provides practical information on confidentiality and insurance coverage for psychological services. APA members can order up to 50 free copies of the brochure at a time to distribute to patients or their community.

If you’re interested in collaborating on this initiative, please contact your state psychological association executive director and public education campaign coordinator. We encourage you to join the conversation about psychotherapy by sharing content on any social media site, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube. Use the hashtag #therapyworks to be part of the discussion.