What Is a Therapeutic Category?

Erik J.J. Goserud
Erik J.J. Goserud
Art therapy allows children to express difficult emotions through art.
Art therapy allows children to express difficult emotions through art.

A therapeutic category is simply a categorization of types of therapy. Therapy can be defined as the treatment or control of a health condition. Just as there are many ways something can go wrong with a person's health, there are many types of therapeutic interventions.

When a person becomes ill, he or she usually seeks the help of a medical professional. This professional should be able to diagnose, or identify, the particular ailment for which this individual is being seen. After a doctor makes a diagnosis, he or she selects a treatment plan. A therapeutic category places a number of similar treatments under one umbrella, making it easier to differentiate groups of treatments from one another. Therapy is sometimes more encompassing than standard medical treatments, and it often draws upon experimental techniques to try to help someone suffering from a disease.

Whether a person is physically or mentally ill, for a short amount of time or chronically, seriously threatened or temporarily injured, there is a therapy to help. Journal therapy, art therapy, and music therapy are a few accepted, if uncommon, examples of therapeutic categories. Each of these examples encompasses many different subcategories and specific techniques, all with the goal of utilizing art, music, or journals to help treat a person's problem.

Hundreds of other categories exist, and on an almost daily basis, more and more are being created. The reason that an obscure therapeutic category may be effective is not completely understood. The mind is a complex mechanism, and each one is different. For this reason, many seemingly abstract theories of treatment have been proven effective for certain people. While one person may scoff at poetry therapy, another may use this religiously to liberate him- or herself from unwanted anxieties.

Just because a therapy is not physiologically based does not deem it ineffective. Many therapies have little reasoning behind them, yet people receiving treatment report feeling better, making them, in a sense, effective. There are also more proven therapeutic interventions based on sound scientific principles. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an example of one such therapeutic category that has gained more acceptance from allopathic, or Western, medicine.

Due to the fact-based system most Western cultures have adopted for medical practice, types of therapy are sometimes not taken as seriously as in the Eastern world or other cultures across the globe. One important thing to realize is that, just as there are good and bad doctors, there may be legitimate and fabricated therapies. Doing research before spending time and money on a particular type of therapy may be beneficial in choosing an effective measure.

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    • Art therapy allows children to express difficult emotions through art.
      Art therapy allows children to express difficult emotions through art.