Talking therapies

Talking therapies (or psychological therapies) give people the chance to speak in confidence to a trained professional about problems or issues that are causing them concern. Some people use talking therapies to help them cope with specific difficulties, such as serious illness, bereavement, stress, anxiety or depression, whereas other people may use them for personal growth and development. There are a number of different talking therapies. This section outlines some of these therapies and explains how people with dementia and their carers might find them helpful.

Talking therapies are not the only type of non-drug treatment available for a person with dementia or their carer, however. If a person has depression or anxiety but the symptoms are mild, they may be offered self-help, referred to a support group or encouraged to exercise and engage in social activities.

If the person's symptoms are severe, drug treatment (eg an antidepressant) is usually offered, sometimes before or in combination with a talking therapy. Some people with dementia who have depression or low mood will also benefit from activities such as life story work or reminiscence. For more about these approaches, which are not talking therapies, see our page: Depression and anxiety.