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 and relationship issues. Or maybe it’s a lurking, overarching issue, such as general anxiety or depressive tendencies.
Whatever you’re dealing with, a well-suited therapist is there to provide you with the tools to identify, navigate, and eventually handle any related crises.
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.
Here are five reasons why therapy is worth it – and a look into the positive impact it can have on your life.
1. Therapy can help you alleviate emotional and mental health struggles – through evidence-based treatments
The most straightforward reason to go to therapy is to find relief from the mental health challenges you are experiencing.
Whether you are struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, eating concerns, a recent loss, or impacts of a traumatic experience, therapists can help you address these mental health challenges through evidence-based treatments.
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.
You don’t have to be alone in your struggles. A therapist can provide professional and clinical guidance to overcome your challenges.
2. Therapy is an investment in personal betterment, and a form of self-improvement
Do you love self-help books? Are you a die-hard Tony Robbins fan? Well, therapy is a form of self-improvement, too – with an emphasis on mental and emotional wellbeing.
Many people set going to therapy as a New Years Resolution for exactly this reason. Therapy gives you the one hour each week to invest in your emotional, mental, and relational health.
While we grow in many ways throughout life – we learn how to manage our finances, do well at work, take better care of our health – therapy gives you the space and professional guidance to intentionally grow in emotional and interpersonal ways.
Goals may range from wanting to strengthen communication with your partner, improve relations with family members, or increase self-confidence. It could also be to analyze childhood upbringing, resolve lingering concerns, or heal painful past experiences.
Therapy is a deliberate way to invest in your self-improvement across various aspects of life.
3. 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 unconfident, and reframe them to build up 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
There's no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy, since it's flexible and can be tailored to your unique needs. You can empower your search in the right type for you by learning about the different therapy types.
4. Therapy may increase your income
In addition to all the great emotional and mental health benefits, seeing a therapist may have 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 with mental health and stress concerns, and 8% for women.
While going to therapy of course doesn’t guarantee an increase in income, it’s understandable how the ability to healthily address problems in personal and professional life can help you be a more effective employee and contributor to your team.
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 classes in middle and 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.
Bottom line: When it comes to therapy, “worth it” looks different for everyone.
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!