Understanding the Benefits of Therapy

Two people in therapy.

Understanding the Benefits of Therapy

Everyone who has sought mental health treatment has a unique story. In general, most people hope to gain a healthier mindset and learn new skills. Oftentimes when people enter therapy they are simply in pain and have not considered what their goals are (besides making the pain go away). However, an important question to ask oneself is: “What do I want to gain from therapy?”

People receive many different health benefits from talk therapy. It may be hard to tell if treatment is working at first, but just like everything else, therapy takes time. The length of treatment for mental health problems will vary from one individual to another. When someone makes an effort to find the clinic and mental health professional who is the best match, it can increase their likelihood of improvement.

What Is the Purpose of Therapy?

Psychotherapy can also be called talk therapy. There are several different kinds of psychotherapies to choose from. A variety of different types of interventions and psychotherapies are effective for specific mental health conditions. When treatment takes place in a group setting, it is called group therapy. One-on-one sessions are called individual therapy.

Therapy can help a person learn various strategies and techniques that can help them recognize and change troubling emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. By putting these strategies into action, a person is better able to achieve goals outside of treatment.

A few different types of interventions may include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Relationship-based interventions (RBIs)
  • Activity-based therapies such as art or wilderness therapy

Depending on the individual’s situation or condition, talk therapy can be paired with certain prescription medications. In other cases, therapy can be an alternative to medication. The right treatment plan is typically based on individual needs determined by the mental healthcare professional.

Benefits of Therapy

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) tells us the diagnosis of a mental illness is quite common. A page on the DHHS’s website says that in 2020, approximately one out of five adults in the U.S. experienced problems with their mental health. The page also notes that one out of 20 adults copes with a serious psychiatric disorder such as bipolar disorder, major depression, or schizophrenia. Issues from untreated mental illnesses are the second leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of ten and 24. It has been estimated that 45,979 Americans passed away due to suicide in 2020. The good news is that treatment can help.

Talk therapy and other therapeutic interventions can help a person address and cope with specific mental health issues. An individual may attend sessions for help with a specific psychiatric disorder, addiction, relationship problem, or feelings of grief. They also may simply need direction and additional support. Problems in one’s life can disrupt the home environment, educational progress, and work performance. Therapy can help a client manage their symptoms and improve negatively affected areas of their life.

How Do You Know Treatment Is Working?

It may take more than just a few sessions to determine the effects and benefits of therapy. All treatment, whether it is mental or physical, can take a great deal of time. Because the problems may have been going on for years, it can take a while to feel back to normal again. The timeline of success depends on the severity of the condition and the type of therapy. Since healing can be a gradual process, sometimes it may be difficult to notice the signs of improvement.

Looking back on their time in treatment and current state, a person may realize their moods have felt more balanced lately. They may find that some behaviors have changed since the beginning of treatment. Their relationships with loved ones may have improved. If a person feels happier overall, this is a good sign they are on the right track to healing.

Finding the Right Therapist

It may take time to find the right therapist. If someone meets with their therapist for a few sessions and finds they are not comfortable working with them, that is perfectly normal. Sharing deeply personal information can feel awkward. Trial and error is quite common, especially when developing trust and disclosing vulnerable information. A person should try to distinguish whether the therapist is not a good fit or whether the obstacle is within themselves.

As explained by the NIMH in a previous link, psychologists specialize in working with individuals who have certain mental health conditions. People should take time to do some research on the therapist in question to ensure they will receive the right treatment to meet their goals. It’s smart to take advantage of the public resources available to assist them in their journey to find the right healthcare facility. Some therapists may offer different types of treatment and have different levels of experience. No matter the choice, it’s always better to reach out for help than to suffer alone. Therapists are there because they care and want to help other people achieve their best lives.