Why Psychotherapy e1720033524963

Benefits of psychotherapy

Although research has shown that Psychotherapy is effective in treating symptoms related to depression, anxiety, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) among many other conditions, there is still a lot of stigma and misconceptions that prevent people from accessing this service. For example:

  • Only those who have severe mental or emotional problems need Psychotherapy.
  • The best therapy comes from friends and family, even strangers in the subway!
  • Psychotherapy should be the last resort, sort of when one is out of options.

The truth is that Psychotherapy is not only for those who experience severe conditions related to their physical or mental health. It is an amazing service that absolutely anyone, at any point in their life can have access to and benefit from.

Indeed, Psychotherapy offers a safe space to learn healthy coping mechanisms and brainstorm strategies to navigate different stages in our lives – from finding ways to deal with difficult decisions, challenges in our relationships, parenthood, separation, loss, to career change and stress, just to mention some.

Now, while family and friends offer amazing support, we sometimes need a separate space where we can express ourselves freely, without feeling the need to impress, not to disappoint, or get approval from someone we love and/or care for. Furthermore, since the Psychotherapist would be a third party, meaning, not part of your family or circle of friends, they would be better able to provide a more objective perspective and help you consider different points of view.

In terms of timing, when would it be a good time to engage in Psychotherapy? Unfortunately, sometimes people try way too hard to deal with challenges on their own, thinking that asking for help is a sign of weakness. The advantage of seeking Psychotherapy early on, and not as a last resort, is that it can help us tackle difficulties more effectively, saving us from lots of headaches and heartaches by: a) bringing awareness to limiting beliefs and stubborn habits that could be keeping us stuck in old patterns; and b) finding viable options.  

Psychotherapy goes way beyond just talking or “venting”. It offers amazing, long-lasting benefits to those who engage in a therapeutic process. Indeed, according to the American Psychiatric Association:

“Research shows that most people who receive psychotherapy experience symptom relief and are better able to function in their lives. About 75 percent of people who enter psychotherapy show some benefit from it. Psychotherapy has been shown to improve emotional and psychological well-being and is linked with positive changes in the brain and body. The benefits also include fewer sick days, less disability, fewer medical problems, and increased work satisfaction[i].”

According to the American Psychological Association (APA) Psychotherapy can help:

  • Improve people’s quality of life, functionality, and productivity, as it focuses on teaching useful life skills that can last a lifetime: “Psychotherapy teaches patients life skills that last beyond the course of treatment. The results of psychotherapy tend to last longer than psychopharmacological treatments and rarely produce harmful side effects[ii].”

And for those who have diagnoses of anxiety, depression, or other mental health-related condition, Psychotherapy has been found to:

  • Reduce the incidence of psychiatric hospitalizations, disability, morbidity, and mortality.
  • Support psychopharmacological treatments: “While medication is appropriate in some instances, research shows that a combination of medication and psychotherapy is often most effective in treating depression and anxiety. It should also be noted that the effects produced by psychotherapy, including those for different age groups and across a spectrum of mental and physical health disorders, are often comparable to or better than the effects produced by drug treatments for the same disorders without the potential for harmful side effects that drugs often carry.”[iii]

So why Psychotherapy if I have family and friends?

The benefits of engaging in Psychotherapy go beyond momentarily feeling better or just venting. It involves learning strategies and tools that have a long-lasting effect in our lives. Anyone can benefit from it, at any point in their lives regardless of whether they have a severe problem or a specific diagnosis. Why not give it a try?

[i] https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/psychotherapy

[ii] American Psychological Association. (2012, August 9). Research shows psychotherapy is effective but underutilized [Press release]. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2012/08/psychotherapy-effective

[iii] American Psychological Association. (2012, August 9). Research shows psychotherapy is effective but underutilized [Press release]. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2012/08/psychotherapy-effective

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