Is Therapy Worth It? 6 Benefits of Therapy
Are you trying to determine whether or not therapy is worth it for you or a loved one? Learn more about important considerations and benefits of therapy here.
By: Ashley Laderer
Clinically Reviewed By: Don Gasparini Ph.D., M.A., CASAC
July 8, 2023
Table of Contents
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health challenges, you might ask yourself, “Is therapy worth it?”
You may wonder if therapy will “work” or if paying for therapy will get you the results you hope for.
Many people suffer from mental health conditions –– maybe even more than you think. One out of eight people worldwide has a mental health condition. While many of these individuals’ conditions go untreated, those who seek mental health treatment can experience great relief and life-changing benefits.
Therapy offers healing and personal growth for those who need it. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the various benefits of therapy to help you determine if therapy is worth it for you or your loved one, as well as other important considerations when determining if therapy is worth it.
Is therapy worth it?
Everyone has different opinions about therapy –– but there’s no denying that therapy has helped, and continues to help, many people suffering from mental health conditions.
For those debating if therapy is worth it or not, one of the main concerns is if it will “work.” Based on research, the answer is clear: 75% of people who attend therapy experience at least some benefits, according to The American Psychiatric Association. For years, research has pointed to various forms of psychotherapy benefiting people dealing with a variety of mental health conditions.
These benefits can be in the short-term, like learning new relaxation techniques or venting and getting things that have been weighing you down off your chest. Many people, though, experience long-term benefits even after their therapy treatment plan is completed, and some studies have shown that therapy can result in positive, lasting changes to the brain. Also, the coping skills people learn in therapy can benefit them long after they’ve stopped attending sessions, as long as they continue to put them into practice.
Ultimately, the decision to start therapy is a personal one, so here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine if therapy is worth it for you or your loved one:
- Is your mental health negatively affecting your quality of life?
- Is your mental health getting in the way of your day-to-day functioning?
- Is your mental health interfering with you having healthy, fulfilling relationships?
- Do you feel like you can’t handle your difficult emotions, life transitions, or trauma on your own?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, therapy could very well be worth it for you or your loved one.
However, it’s important to be realistic and note that therapy isn’t an automatic magic cure-all. You will get the most out of therapy if:
- You are willing to be open and honest with your therapist
- You view therapy as a collaboration between you and your therapist
- You find a therapist who makes you feel respected and safe
- You are willing to put in hard work both in and out of sessions
- You set therapy goals and actively work towards them with your therapist
- You voice concerns about therapy to your therapist
- You remain patient and consistent with therapy, remembering that you will need more than just one therapy session for lasting, significant results
While therapy can help many people from all walks of life deal with various challenges, not everyone needs to be in therapy. Furthermore, no one deserves to be coerced into therapy or stay in therapy that harms them, such as in the extreme case of so-called “conversion therapy” for LGBTQIA+ community members.
Six major benefits of therapy
Therapy is an investment in someone’s well-being. When someone truly puts in the work, both in and out of sessions, they can have a life-changing experience. Whether someone is going to in-person therapy or seeking treatment through online therapy, therapy can result in numerous benefits, including:
1. Managing mental health conditions
One of the main reasons people go to therapy is because they have (or suspect they have) a mental health condition. For individuals diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more, therapy can make a huge difference in symptoms and overall mental health.
In many instances, if someone does not seek treatment for their mental health condition, it will worsen. Therapy is absolutely worth it in these cases because mental health is a critical part of overall well-being.
Therapists and their clients work collaboratively, following a personalized treatment plan to meet a client’s mental health needs and goals. Mental health professionals will use different types of therapy depending on the individual’s conditions – such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), or exposure therapy, to name a few. With treatment, people can learn to better understand and manage their conditions, reduce symptoms, and experience an improved quality of life.
2. A safe space for self-expression
Therapy is a safe space, whether someone opts for online therapy or in-person therapy. Therapists are non-judgemental, unbiased, and will not share your secrets with anyone (unless you or someone else is in imminent danger). This makes therapy a great chance for people to express their thoughts, feelings, and hardships openly and honestly. Therapy allows individuals to share deeply personal struggles that may be difficult to discuss with friends or family members.
This can be especially helpful for marginalized groups, such as the LGBTQIA+ community, who are at higher risk for developing mental health conditions. Due to societal pressures and judgment from loved ones, LGBTQIA+ individuals might be afraid to express themselves fully to their family or friends. Therapists can help them address concerns about their sexual or gender identity in a safe space.
Through therapy, people from all backgrounds can gain clarity and a sense of relief by unburdening themselves from challenging emotions, trauma, or secrets they’ve been holding on to. Therapists will not judge you, ostracize you, or belittle you. They are here to help you and support you.
3. Improved self-awareness
A good therapist will help clients dig deeper and build their self-awareness. Therapy provides people an opportunity for self-reflection and introspection, ultimately helping them better understand themselves.
In therapy, people can explore their thoughts, emotions, fears, hopes, dreams, and more in a safe space. They can examine their past and current behaviors and experiences. With the help of a therapist, they can uncover recurring themes or patterns that they may not have realized were there or identify areas where they can grow.
Through self-exploration, self-awareness becomes heightened. With more self-awareness, you can:
- Determine what you truly want in life
- Set goals
- Identify and change problematic or unhealthy behaviors
- Build self-confidence
- Learn new ways to problem-solve
4. A chance to address past trauma
Traumatic experiences, even ones we have as little kids, can stick with us. Trauma tends to eat away at us, causing various mental and physical symptoms if the trauma is not addressed and worked through. Even if someone does not have PTSD, trauma can still cause negative effects. Therapy, especially trauma-informed therapy, provides a supportive environment for people to explore and process their traumatic memories and the associated emotions.
Alongside a therapist, people can gradually dive deeper into their trauma, gaining new insights and understanding that can lead to healing and growth. They may experience reduced symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, or avoidance. Therapy offers the opportunity to rewrite the narrative of past trauma, empowering individuals to find resilience, post-traumatic growth, and new hope for the future.
5. Learning valuable coping skills
Therapy is a great chance to learn new helpful coping skills to use when the going gets tough. Life is full of challenges and stressors that can test us, and coping skills empower us and allow us to get through these difficult times. Furthermore, learning healthy coping skills in therapy makes people less likely to spring for maladaptive, unhealthy coping mechanisms such as abusing substances or self-harming.
Therapy equips people with effective tools to cope with difficult feelings such as anxiety, panic, sadness, or anger. Some examples of commonly used coping skills taught in therapy are:
- Breathing exercises
- Grounding techniques
- Practicing mindfulness
- Distress tolerance skills
- Emotional regulation
By developing coping skills, people can gain a greater sense of control over their emotions and related physical symptoms. They build confidence that they have the power to respond to difficult situations in healthy ways, knowing they can get through anything that life throws their way.
6. Improved communication skills and relationships
While the goal of therapy is typically to work on oneself, many people experience improved interpersonal relationships as a result of therapy, whether that’s romantic relationships, friendships, or family ties. When you understand yourself and your needs better, you will likely be able to develop stronger connections with others.
Healthy relationships are crucial for overall well-being. Through therapy, people can learn effective communication skills, conflict-resolution techniques, and how to set boundaries. This can be especially helpful for people who struggle greatly with interpersonal relationships, such as people with borderline personality disorder.
Another option outside of traditional one-on-one therapy is couples therapy, where couples can work together to address struggles within the partnership, or family therapy, where family members can improve communication and learn health conflict resolution skills.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the possible benefits of therapy since the therapy experience is different for everybody. Everyone’s therapy journey is unique, shaped by their specific challenges, circumstances, and goals. While the aforementioned benefits are common and widely reported, it’s important to recognize that therapy certainly has the potential to bring about various other positive outcomes.
Do you need more support with
your mental health?
Charlie Health can help.
When is an intensive outpatient program worth it?
For those who are struggling with a more complex or serious mental health condition, an intensive outpatient program (IOP) may be an option. This intensive therapy in the present is a long-term investment in well-being. As a bonus, IOPs can now be conducted virtually. Charlie Health’s IOP exclusively uses virtual therapy to help bring care to those who need it most, all from the comfort of their own homes.
What is intensive outpatient therapy?
Sometimes once-weekly therapy is not enough for those struggling with more severe mental health conditions or symptoms. An intensive outpatient program offers therapeutic programming multiple times a week and usually combines individual, family, and group therapy. IOP is a great choice for people who need more support than traditional weekly outpatient therapy provides but do not need round-the-clock care.
During IOP, including Charlie Health’s virtual IOP, teens and young adults can receive the intensive treatment they need while continuing their daily life, whether at school or work.
An IOP might be the right fit for you or your loved one if:
- You require more structure and care than once-a-week outpatient therapy
- You don’t see the desired results or relief from traditional once-a-week therapy
- You need extra mental health care, but not the level of care that a 24/7 inpatient program offers
- You just got discharged from a residential facility, inpatient program, or emergency department, and you need structured, intensive care
- You want your treatment to include a mix of structured IOP groups, individual therapy, and family therapy
Benefits of IOP
A study conducted by Charlie Health of clients found clear benefits to virtual intensive outpatient treatment, including significant reductions in:
- Anxiety symptoms
- Depression symptoms
- Self-harming behavior
- Suicidal ideation
Furthermore, the study found that Charlie Health’s IOP significantly decreased emergency service utilization. Compared to the time before starting the intensive outpatient treatment, clients experienced a 91% decrease in referrals to higher levels of care and a 79% decrease in admissions to higher levels of care.
How Charlie Health can help
If you’ve decided that therapy is the right choice for you or your loved one, Charlie Health may be able to help.
Our IOP provides personalized online therapy services for teens, young adults, and families dealing with various mental health struggles. At Charlie Health, every client is matched with a therapist who fits their specific needs and a group of peers from similar backgrounds with similar struggles.
To be sure whether Charlie Health’s IOP is the right fit for you or someone you love, contact us to learn more today.