Is psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy”, something you have wondered about? Are you unsure if it’s worth your time and investment? Below are 8 proven reasons to give psychotherapy a try.
- It’s proven to be effective.
According to the American Psychological Association, more than 50 peer-reviewed studies confirm that talk therapy is effective in treating a wide range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, addictions, and personality disorders. Studies indicate that 75 percent of patients who work with a therapist show positive signs of improvement. Moreover, large studies have demonstrated that psychotherapy is more effective than many other types of medical treatment in reducing rates of illness, disability, and even death.
- All types of people benefit from psychotherapy.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, or what cultural or economic background you come from. Research conclusively shows that individual, couple/family, and group counseling are effective for a broad range of mental health symptoms, disorders, and problems with children, adolescents, adults, and older adults.
- It requires a relatively short time commitment.
The majority of people with conditions such as depression and anxiety feel better, function better, and are happier with themselves and their lives after 3 months. Understandably, the realistic timeframe for results varies depending on each individual’s unique circumstances, including their personal history, particular condition, and personality. Some people experience significant improvement after shorter timeframes, some require longer timelines, but 3 months is generally a good target for expecting positive results.
- Results are long-lasting.
The positive effects produced by psychotherapy across a spectrum of mental and physical health disorders are often comparable to or better than the effects produced by drug treatments for the same disorders without the potential for harmful side effects that drugs often carry. In fact, many studies indicate that the results of psychotherapy last longer than pharmacological treatments.
- Various therapy methods produce positive results.
There are different types of psychotherapy, from psychodynamic therapy where you may reflect more on healing personal trauma to cognitive behavioral therapy, which has you focus on changing unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors. You don’t need to get hung up on which type of therapy to choose. All forms of psychotherapy -- whether provided by a psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed social worker, or mental health nurse practitioner - typically produce similar positive outcomes. It’s important, however, that you work with a qualified therapist with whom you feel comfortable.
- Your life may continue to improve even after your therapy is complete.
In studies measuring the effectiveness of psychotherapy, individuals often report that their lives continue to improve after they have completed their therapy. This is because your therapist can help you develop improved self-esteem, greater adaptive functioning at work/school, increased problem-solving abilities, and enhanced interpersonal relationship skills.
- Psychotherapy reduces long-term medical expenses.
Because psychotherapy has been shown to have positive effects on physical as well as mental health, studies have shown a 20-30 percent reduction in medical costs above the cost of psychological care when behavioral healthcare has been integrated into primary care. (Cummings, et al., 2003). In addition, psychological treatment of individuals with chronic disease in small group sessions has resulted in medical care cost savings of $10 for every $1 spent (Lorig, et al., 1999). This means that the fees you paid for therapy now may very well reduce your overall medical costs in the future.
- Psychotherapy actually rewires your brain.
Imaging studies have shown that psychotherapy changes neural activity in certain areas of the brain, including the medial prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, the hippocampus, and the amygdala. These areas are involved in self-referential thoughts (“me”-centered worry thoughts), executive control (decision-making), emotion, and fear. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectic behavior therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy have all been shown to alter brain function in patients suffering from a major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, posttraumatic stress disorder, and borderline personality disorder. These studies are further proof that talk therapy can actually help change the ways you think and react to situations, leading to a mentally and emotionally happier you.
If you would like to give psychotherapy a try, Harmony United Psychiatric Care offers a team of licensed therapists experienced in treating a wide range of conditions. Call (800) 457-4573 or visit our Book Appointment page to schedule an appointment. We’ll get your first session scheduled within one week of your request.