If you’re considering therapy, you’re probably facing an emotional burden you aren’t equipped to tackle alone.
It could be a specific, pressing concern, like an eating disorder or binge drinking. It might be thematic, like struggling to communicate with your partner. Or maybe it’s a lurking, overarching issue, such as general anxiety or depressive tendencies.
But if you’re unfamiliar with therapy, then the investment – of both time and money – may deter you from seeking it out in the first place. You might wonder if therapy is worth the seemingly steep costs, or whether weekly sessions will fit into your already tight schedule. In short, you might be wondering if therapy is worth it.
As therapy seekers ourselves, we put together five responses as to why therapy is worth it – as well as a tangible peek into the positive impact it can have on your life.
1. Therapy provides emotional relief that you might otherwise not be able to find
The most straightforward reason to go to therapy is to find relief, both immediate and long-lasting, from the mental health challenges you are experiencing.
More often than not, that relief is rooted in research, since therapists use evidence-based treatment to address their clients' mental health challenges.
For example, studies have shown that treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy can be effective as medication for many types of depression and anxiety disorders, and without the side effects of drug treatments. While the duration of treatment varies, many clients experience alleviation of symptoms within about six weekly sessions.
Whether you're struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, eating concerns, a recent loss, or impacts of a traumatic experience, a therapist can provide professional and clinical guidance to overcome your challenges.
2. Therapy is a type of personal investment
While we're all expected to grow in various ways throughout life – we learn how to manage our finances, do well at work, take better care of our physical health – less guidance is given regarding our emotional, interpersonal growth.
Enter therapy, which provides the space and professional guidance to intentionally improve ourselves.
You may set explicit goals in therapy, like:
- Improving relations with family members
- Changing a detrimental habit, such as smoking
- Navigating the process of coming out to your friends, families, and coworkers
- Figuring out how to stop arguing with your partner
Or you may experience more nuanced growth, such as:
- Resolving lingering concerns
- Finding greater purpose in your everyday world
- Healing painful past experiences
Therapy is a deliberate way to invest in your self-improvement across various aspects of life.
3. Seeing a therapist can increase your income
In addition to therapy's emotional and mental health benefits, seeing a therapist has another (quantitatively measurable) benefit: Going to therapy may be correlated to increases in income.
One study analyzing 13 years of data from a survey of around 8,000 people living in the United Kingdom found that therapy increases income by:
- 13% for men who expressed mental health and stress concerns
- 8% for women who expressed similar concerns
While going to therapy, of course, doesn’t guarantee an increase in income, it’s an understandable correlation.
After all, the ability to healthily address problems in personal and professional life can help you be a more effective employee and contributor to your team.
4. Therapy can increase your confidence, self-esteem, and communication skills
If you have trouble in areas of confidence and self-esteem, therapy is a great way to work on underlying causes – and learn tools to overcome them.
Take low confidence, for example. Using a set of methods from the therapy approach cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), you can learn to:
- Identify thoughts that make you feel less confident
- Reframe them
- Utilize this new thought process as the building blocks for higher self-esteem
Another example? Working with therapist who's trained in work and career related challenges to:
- Help you manage work stress
- Improve communication problems at work
- Boost your sense of self
- Reach new levels of work success
Working with a therapist who holistically understands the origins of your issues and how they play out in various situations will help you overcome them in a way that is authentic to you, and sustainable.
5. Therapy is the “mental and emotional health education” that you never got at school
While we have sex ed, gym class, and maybe even home economics in high school, we never receive education around our emotional and mental health.
Therapy is an opportunity to learn about and address these important parts of our lives and health. A big part of therapy is psycho-education, in which the therapist teaches you about your diagnosis, and the intricacies of the challenges you’re facing.
You may learn about what is causing the stress and anxiety you’re experiencing, how the brain functions, or why a family member or partner’s personality or past experiences is affecting how they interact with you.
Because mental and emotional health are such intricate topics, a therapist can help you understand your unique situation far better than an online search can. For example, your anxieties today may be affected by a trauma you experienced when you were little; or you may notice patterns in your romantic relationship resemble family dynamics you observed in growing up. And with that internal knowledge comes the opportunity for self empowerment.
Investing in therapy signals to your internal system that you value your mental and emotional wellbeing. Seeking therapy can take courage, so if you’re considering therapy, congratulations – you’re already halfway there!