How Psychosocial Interventions in Mental Health Nursing Improve Patients’ Quality of Life

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The psychosocial approach to therapy is a combination of social and psychological factors used when treating patients with mental health problems. By improving patients’ social environments while helping them deal with their psychological problems, nurse practitioners are able to offer patients a more holistic solution.

When treating patients with mental health issues, the obvious methods are one-on-one counseling, group therapy, and prescription medicines. However, with their expertise and training, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) can do a lot more for their patients, improving their quality of life and their mental health outcomes.

With the availability of online courses in post-graduate nursing science, nurse practitioners today have a wide choice of specializations in interesting and rewarding professions. One such option is that of a Doctor of nursing practice-psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (DNP-PMHNP), studied online at Baylor University. Their accredited course teaches the various models of mental health care while building on leadership skills and excellent patient-care competencies.

These are some of the psychosocial methods used by PMHNPs to treat patients who are dealing with mental health issues.

Creative therapy

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Creative therapy can be separated into two forms: expressive arts therapy and creative arts therapy. Expressive arts therapists use multiple forms of creativity to encourage their patients to express themselves, while creative arts therapists are trained to use one specific art in their therapy, for example, music or painting.

Expressive arts therapy incorporates various forms of art, music, dancing, acting, and writing, and is particularly useful when treating people who are unable to express their emotions and innermost feelings sufficiently. The focus is on encouraging self-expression, imagination, active participation, and a holistic mind-body connection. A few examples of this are the use of available materials to express themselves in the form of pictures, sculptures, or masks. Dancing, or movement therapy teaches patients the importance of movement and exercise for healing the body and mind. It activates the energy in the body and channels it into positive thoughts and feelings. Equally, writing is a safe place for people to express things that have been bothering them and their emotions.

The choice of creative therapy can depend on the specific problems of a particular patient. Music, which has a wide range of therapeutic benefits and is used both as an alternative treatment and as a complementary method to conventional therapy, can be perfect to treat one patient, while movement therapy might better suit another.

Music therapy can be helpful to patients in a number of ways. The calming influence of music is applied in music therapy as an evidence-based practice used to treat a variety of disorders. Music therapy is used successfully in the treatment of disorders such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

Listening to a soothing piece of music helps to relax muscles, regulate breathing and heart rate, and lower blood pressure. This in turn relieves stress and pain, and the patient is more likely to respond to therapy under these conditions. Music helps to stimulate areas of the brain, which in turn increases motivation, improves memory, and increases feelings of joy.

A music therapist begins with a counseling session to assess the patient’s needs and music preferences. Music therapists work in various settings, such as clinics, substance abuse centers, or private practices.

Animal therapy

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As with music, animals, have a natural way of calming people down, reducing stress and anxiety, and helping them cope with traumatic experiences in their lives. Animal-assisted therapy can be used in conjunction with conventional counseling and medicinal therapies or on its own in some circumstances.

In many cases, the petting of animals is said to release oxytocin, which is related to serotonin, a natural chemical in our bodies that enhances sleep, digestion, bone health, and more. Introducing animals to patients in a safe environment eliminates any preconceived fears they may have regarding animals and enhances their mood.

Play therapy

Play therapy is a common method used in child counseling. It helps children overcome their shyness and express themselves, and, with the gentle prompting of a counselor, it helps them learn things about themselves. By introducing play, therapists are able to build strong relationships that encourage the child to open up and talk about whatever is bothering them. This therapy enables children to build up stronger social skills and to communicate with their families more effectively. It also helps them solve problems and develop coping strategies.


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Mindfulness counseling is a method that is used to alleviate stress and anxiety. Training patients to focus on the present moment through methods such as meditation and yoga helps patients to become more aware of their emotions, feelings, and bodily sensations. The therapist can use mindfulness to encourage patients to remember their past without self-judgment. Discussing uncomfortable feelings combined with breathing and meditation can help to dissipate any negative stress and anxiety that may be standing in the way of complete healing. The practice of mindfulness can be done anywhere at any time and is a technique that patients can take with them.

Improved quality of life

While a patient’s experience with animals or music in therapy can be helpful in the short term, the long-term benefits are just as important. These therapies help to reduce stress and anxiety in patients, help them calm down, relax, and more easily take on the support of their therapist.  

Patients who have attended art therapy with a counselor will realize that expressing oneself is part of a healing process and understand that the continuation of this kind of self-expression will see them through tough times ahead. Those who have learned about movement know that it brings joy into their lives, and no matter where they find themselves, there will always be room to move. Acquiring a love of animals is an awareness that patients will have for years to come. These are the kinds of interventions that last a lifetime and help patients long after their formal therapy has ended.

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