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Talk therapy can offer you many benefits — like opportunities to develop coping skills and address unhelpful thoughts or behaviors.

Therapy is an effective way to help manage your mental health. People participate in psychotherapy — also called “talk therapy” — if they’re trying to deal with new or unexpected challenges in their life and chronic or long-standing issues.

Talk therapy can also be an essential part of treatment for mental health conditions.

Different types of therapy can offer different approaches to understanding human behavior, thought, and emotion, depending on your original intent.

You may have your own unique needs and goals for talk therapy. When you visit a therapist, they will work with you to find the best approach for you.

Because of the potential benefits of talk therapy, many people find their mental health may improve, and they gain techniques to use in their daily life even after they stop going to therapy.

Why do people go to talk therapy?

There are several reasons people go to therapy. It can help you through a tough time, such as illness, job stress, or relationship challenges.

Some people also seek psychotherapy as part of treatment for mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or substance use disorder (SUD).

Children and adults may attend talk therapy and benefit. Talk therapy can help someone address issues like:

  • mental health diagnoses
  • challenging life events like divorce, major illness, or loss of a loved one
  • coping with long-term illness of self or a loved one
  • sexual or physical abuse
  • experiences of racism or discrimination
  • relationship issues, either alone or as a couple
  • family dynamics

Someone may also seek therapy if they simply know they need help or support but aren’t sure what to do.

A mental health provider may provide direction toward the right therapy for you.

Types of therapy

There are many kinds of talk therapy. These therapy disciplines are tailored to a person’s specific needs and reasons for entering therapy.

Some therapists may choose to mix aspects of kinds of psychotherapy.

Consider these types of talk therapy:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to help a person change thoughts and behaviors that are not working. CBT helps someone to live in the world by developing more effective and helpful thoughts and behaviors.
  • Interpersonal therapy helps people see relationships issues that may affect how one interacts with others. These may include grief, changes in work roles, and conflict at home. Treatment of depression is often one goal of interpersonal therapy.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy is a type of CBT. It focuses on regulating emotions. People with eating disorders, PTSD, or borderline personality disorder may all benefit from this kind of treatment.
  • Psychodynamic therapy focuses on childhood experiences and unconscious thoughts that may affect a person today. Through psychodynamic therapy, you can become more self-aware and change harmful patterns of thought and behavior. Psychoanalysis can be considered a more intensive form of psychodynamic therapy.
  • Supportive therapy helps you to develop mechanisms to support your own mental health, which in turn may improve the rest of your life. With guidance, people often experience improved self-esteem, better coping skills, and reduced anxiety.

When you are looking to connect with a therapist, you may want to learn more about the kind of therapy they typically use.

Psychotherapy has a long and interesting history. You’ll find that it may take some time to find the type that suits your needs.

Is therapy good for you?

Therapy can help you develop skills and strategies to improve your well-being.

There are many good reasons for therapy and ways it may help you, such as:

  • having a better understanding of your mental health
  • developing wellness goals
  • identifying triggers that lead to symptoms or unhealthy behaviors
  • improving interpersonal relationships
  • coping with stress
  • creating a personal plan for a mental health crisis
  • making sense of past trauma
  • overcoming fears
  • creating routine and stability

Talk therapy works a bit differently for everyone. Most people who participate in psychotherapy experience some benefit from the process, both in the short and long term.

Long-term benefits of seeing a therapist

Yes, talk therapy can help you in the short term. It can also have a lasting effectTrusted Source on your life, whether or not you continue to see a therapist.

If you commit to therapy for a few months and open up to your therapist, you may find these sessions can benefit you for the rest of your life.

Coping mechanisms

Psychotherapy often helps you develop your ability to solve problems. It offers practical and supportive ways to manage stress and other difficult parts of your everyday life.

These coping skills can be helpful throughout your life, even when you are no longer attending therapy.

Support systems

Talk therapy can help someone with thoughts of self-harm to create a safety plan.

While instances of self-harm or suicidal ideation may be treated as potential emergencies, therapy could help you develop a plan of action that involves support from family and friends in a crisis.

These strategies can stay with you even if you stop seeing a therapist.

Reducing symptoms

Research gives evidence that talk therapy improves mental health over the long term.

2016 study of people with mood or anxiety conditions found that at a 10-year follow-up, attending therapy longer may result in better outcomes.

In the study, people who went to long-term psychotherapy had greater symptom improvement and improved workability than those who attended short-term therapy.

However, the study found that both short-term and long-term therapy offered lasting results.

New insights

Talk therapy may help you address how specific thought patterns may cause you harm, such as when one holds a low opinion of themselves. Therapy can help someone identify such thoughts as inaccurate and develop behaviors based on a more positive, realistic life outlook.

Improvements in your health

According to the American Psychological Association, 75% of people who participate in talk therapy get some benefit.

When therapy ends, individuals who received therapy found that their mental health symptoms improved by 80% more than those who did not receive therapy.

Let’s recap

Talk therapy is an established part of mental health treatment. People attend psychotherapy for many varied reasons, including navigating challenging life events, seeking treatment for mental health diagnoses, and looking to develop better coping skills.

There are many types of psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and supportive therapy. A therapist may recommend using one or a mixture of these types according to the person’s individual goals.

Talk therapy may provide you with long-term benefits, including reducing symptoms of mental health conditions. It can also provide you with skills even when therapy is over.

Most people who attend therapy receive some benefit. You can find a therapist you trust and can feel comfortable talking with. In addition, you can find affordable therapy options that may suit your budget.

You can learn here about ways to find a therapist.

People go to therapy for various reasons, such as major life transitions or unhelpful thoughts. But it varies from person to person.

Through therapy, a mental health counselor can help you work through difficult feelings or stressors that may affect your day-to-day life. The approach is very collaborative and depends on your relationship and your therapist.

When choosing a therapist who is right for you, consider thinking about what your deal breakers are, qualities that are important, and any other characteristics you value.

One thing to keep in mind when seeking help from a therapist is that it may take several months and help from different therapists along the way. You should never feel obligated to stick with one therapist when you feel they are not the right fit or it is time to move forward with someone else.

All that matters is that you begin psychotherapy when you’re ready and trust your intuition. How you approach your treatment is your choice. Let’s take a look at some possible reasons for seeking therapy.

You’ve been diagnosed with a mental health condition

If you’re diagnosed with a mental health condition, your mental health specialist may recommend therapy in conjunction with medication for your treatment plan.

Medication can lessen symptoms you may be experiencing, while therapy helps work through unhelpful or unwanted thoughts that may impact you. A therapist can help you identify such thoughts and offer ways to navigate them so that they don’t get in your way.

A diagnosis isn’t required to begin therapy. A therapist can support you during life’s transitions and offer solutions to help you recover.

You experience a significant life event

Sometimes life throws major life events our way that may impact our mental health. Such life events include:

  • death of a loved one
  • loss of a job
  • going through a divorce
  • experiencing a traumatic life event

Grief is a powerful emotion that you may have difficulty navigating alone. Consider speaking with a therapist to identify and work through your grief and feeling of loss.

You feel like you need a little help

Life can be challenging at times, but you don’t have to go on this journey alone. Therapy can help you discover new ways to approach challenging situations that will support your well-being.

But, more than that, you can go to therapy to help understand yourself better or improve your ability to thrive. Consider speaking with a mental health professional if you need additional support to help you manage certain feelings and unhelpful thoughts.

When to get help

Sometimes we can face the various problems of life alone or with help from our loved ones, but it may not always be effective.

If you feel specific issues in your life aren’t getting better despite your best efforts, that may be a sign that you could use help from therapy. A therapist can help analyze the problem and suggest a new approach you may haven’t thought of before.

You can’t concentrate

If you find it difficult to concentrate on everyday activities or work assignments, you may benefit from a therapist.

A mental health professional can assess this in therapy and offer a treatment plan that fits your needs. They may ask you various questions that can help them rule out the possibility of undiagnosed mental health conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or depression.

Consider discussing any symptoms you may have with a mental health professional to help you adopt healthy habits to improve your focus.

Your actions are affecting those around you

Sometimes our actions or lifestyle choices may seem fine to us, but then we notice that they negatively impact the other people in our lives. Therapy can help you develop a healthy relationship with yourself and your loved ones.

If you notice that loved ones are affected, consider listening to how they may feel during this time and honestly discuss how this may be impacting you. Allow space to have these conversations when you’re comfortable and open to engaging in healthy communication.

Consider speaking with a family therapist who can help you navigate these tough conversations with professional support.

What are the benefits of therapy?

Beginning therapy may help you cope with life’s challenges in healthier and more productive ways. Other benefits of therapy include:

  • You will feel a relief of symptoms from your anxiety, worry, or depression.
  • A counselor can help you in times of crisis while offering other services related to your issues.
  • You can speak with someone who understands you and validates your feelings.

Next steps

It may take time for you to find a therapist who best aligns with your goals, but the benefits of therapy can help you cope with the unhelpful thoughts or feelings you may experience. A mental health professional or your primary care doctor can help you receive the help you desire.

Many mental health therapists offer online sessions when seeing them in person is not possible. Consider online therapy if that’s a better fit for you. If you or someone you know is considering suicide or self-harm, please seek support. Help is always available.

Source: What Are the Benefits of Therapy? (