Is Therapy Worth it?
“I am really struggling, and I am not sure what to do.”
“I have heard that therapy could help, but is it worth it?”
These are very common thoughts to have when you start to consider if therapy would be helpful for you. It is normal to feel skeptical about the effectiveness of seeing a therapist considering the emotional and financial investment that it takes. However, the need for mental health support is very common. Approximately 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 children have a diagnosed mental health condition (National Institute of Mental Health, 2022). Subsequently, the desire to receive treatment for diagnosed mental health conditions is also very common. Within the United States, over 20% of adults and over 13% of children receive mental health treatment (Terlizzi & Norris, 2021; Zablotsky & Terlizzi, 2020). There are many benefits of therapy, but the most common ones include learning ways to live a fuller life and reaching your full potential, improving behavioral and emotional symptoms, receiving support for as long as you may need it, and working towards goals in a way that best fits your situation.
There are many different types of therapy from which you could benefit. Some therapies focus developing more helpful beliefs about yourself and the world around you and then learning healthier actions to take when responding to stress. Other therapies devote more time to improving your relationships and helping you express emotions in healthier ways. You may find that individual therapy is most helpful, where you and your therapist work together towards your goals. Another option is group therapy where you learn skills in a group setting and can relate to other people struggling with similar concerns. A final option is family therapy where families can learn communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. A benefit of therapy is that you can decide what style of support best fits your situation and needs.
There are many benefits to therapy: the validation that your struggles are real, the support you can receive with these struggles, and the skills and tools you can learn to improve areas of your life. At the end of the day, many people consider therapy to be worth it because of the various benefits, the opportunity to grow in new ways, the flexibility of the process, and because they are simply worth the time and the investment!
For more information, please visit these resources:
Devitt, M. (March, 2019). Study: One in six U.S. children have a mental illness. American Academy of Family Physicians. https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20190318childmentalillness.html
Eells, T. D. (2000). Can therapy affect physical health? The Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research, 9(2), 100-104. https://doi.org/PMC3330586
Hoffman, S. G., Wu, J. Q., & Boettcher, H. (2014). Effects of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders on quality of life: A meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82(3), 375-391. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0035491
Ishak, W. W., Ha, K., Kapitanski, N., Bagot, K., Farhy, H., Swanson, B., Vilhauer, J., Balayan, K., Bolotaulo, N. I., & Rapaport, M. H. (2011). The impact of psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, and their combination on quality of life in depression. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 19(6), 277-289. https://doi.org/10.3109/10673229.2011.630828
Long, C., Krisztal, E., Rabinowitz, Y., Gillispie, Z., Oportot, M., Tse, C., Singer, L., Gallagher-Thompson, D. (2004). Caregiver stress and physical health: The case for stress management therapy. Clinical Psychologist, 8(1), 22-28. https://doi.org/10.1080/13284200410001662596
Mental Health America (2023). Therapy. https://www.mhanational.org/therapy
National Institute of Mental Health (2022, January). Mental Illness. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness
Terlizzi, E. P., & Norris, T. (2021, October). Mental health treatment among adults: United States, 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db419.htm
Weisz, J. R., Kuppens, S., Ng, M. Y., Eckshtain, D., Ugueto, A. M., Vaughn-Coaxum, R., Jensen-Doss, A., Hawley, K. M., Krumholz Marchette, L. S., Chu, B. C., Weersing, V. R., & Fordwood, S. R. (2017). What five decades of research tells us about the effects of youth psychological therapy: A multilevel meta-analysis and implications for science and practice. American Psychologist, 72(2), 79–117. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0040360
Zablotsky, B., & Terlizzi, E. P. (2020, September). Mental health treatment among children aged 5-17 years: United States, 2019. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db381.htm