APA Practice Directorate launches psychotherapy awareness initiative

Public education effort promotes the value of psychotherapy

By Public Relations staff

Sept. 27, 2012 —Though countless studies show that psychotherapy helps people living with depression and anxiety, drug therapy has become the most popular course of treatment over the past decade. The American Psychological Association (APA) is hoping to balance that trend with an initiative launched this week by the APA Practice Directorate to educate consumers about psychotherapy’s effectiveness and encourage them to ask their physicians about it as a treatment option.

Psychotherapy More than a Quick Fix, Episode 2

“We get a lot of information about drug therapy from commercials and pop culture, but we 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.”

The brochure, For a Healthy Mind and Body…Talk to a Psychologist, is available online in English and Spanish. APA members can order printed copies in bulk for free. To order, go to apa.org/helpcenter and click on “Order Free Brochures.” The psychotherapy awareness initiative consists of a multichannel communications effort including media outreach as well as digital and social media. New materials on psychotherapy and depression are available on APA’s Psychology Help Center , including the updated brochure For a Healthy Mind and Body…Talk to a Psychologist .

The brochure 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 50 copies of the brochure at a time for free to distribute to patients or their community. The brochure is available online in English and Spanish.

APA has also introduced an animated video series, Psychotherapy: More Than a Quick Fix about a fictional miracle drug called “Fixitol.” The videos are a parody on drug ads, drawing attention to the value of psychotherapy as a treatment option. While the strategy of the videos is to favorably compare psychotherapy to drug therapy, it is careful not to deny the appropriate use of medications for some individuals.

Additionally, press and social media materials have been developed specifically for state, provincial and territorial psychological associations (SPTAs) and their Public Education Campaign (PEC) Coordinators to use for local public relations activities. If you are interested in collaborating on this initiative, contact your SPTA executive director and PEC Coordinator. We encourage you to join the conversation about psychotherapy by sharing content on any social media site, such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, of which you are a member. Use the hashtag #therapyworks to be part of the discussion.