Medically reviewed by Mary Lucas, RN
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 10/23/2021
If you’re considering therapy, give yourself a pat on the back. After all, putting your mental health at the top of your priority list is a major accomplishment.
Still on the fence? Even if you don’t suffer from any diagnosable mental health conditions, you should know that therapy can drastically improve your quality of life.
Working with a mental health professional can help you get through issues and see things in a new light. But there are so many other benefits, too.
Keep reading for more info on therapy and the many surprising benefits you may experience if you choose to take care of your emotional health in this way.
The goal of therapy is to help you live a healthier, happier life.
But did you know there are a variety of types of therapy? Some of the most popular options are:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): Do you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again? A CBT-trained therapist will help you see negative thought patterns or other behaviors that may not be serving you and introduce you to skills that can help you handle them.
You can read more about this in our guide to CBT for anxiety.
Dialectical behavior therapy: Technically, this is a type of CBT. If you suffer from anxiety, dialectical behavior therapy has been shown to be a strong option for treating it. This type of therapy was also originally used to treat a mental illness known as borderline personality disorder.
Interpersonal therapy: Do you deal with tricky family relationships? Join the club. In all seriousness, this type of help revolves around navigating interpersonal relationships.
Psychodynamic therapy: What was your childhood like? Was there a past relationship that really rocked you? With this type of therapy, you’ll be nudged to dive into your past to see how it may be affecting your present.
When it comes to the actual therapist, they will often have a masters degree or doctorate —mor some other advanced training. People often see a licensed social worker in a therapeutic capacity.
Oh, and these days, therapy can happen just about anywhere. In-person sessions are an option, but there are also phone and video sessions available.
All three therapy options can be effective. In fact, a review of 17 studies suggested that CBT done virtually may even be more effective for some people than in-person sessions.
When it comes to cost, there is a range. If you have insurance, you should be able to find a network of therapists you are covered to see.
Your insurance may not cover the visit fully, but it can give you access to affordable therapy.
Now that you know how therapy works, it’s time to dive into the array of benefits you can receive from mental health care. Here are just a few:
Depression affects an estimated 17.3 million people in the United States. Many people deal with anxiety, too.
In fact, it’s thought that 40 million American adults have experienced an anxiety disorder.
Psychotherapy — and specifically, CBT — has been shown to be an effective way to treat depression and anxiety disorders.
In addition, CBT can help those suffering with bipolar disorder.
Therapy may also benefit you if you experience imposter syndrome.
When something bad happens, it can be tempting to dwell on it. But therapy can help you pull yourself out of a funk.
Therapy has also been shown to have a lasting effect when it comes to resilience.
For example, one study found that when therapy was sought out for depression and anxiety, it had lasting effects and reduced the return of symptoms, even after treatment ended.
When you understand yourself better, you’re able to communicate more clearly with loved ones. That’s because you have an understanding of your feelings and can explain them more clearly if conflict arises.
Therapy also gives you a place to discuss any issues that may arise in relationships you have with other people — whether that’s with a romantic partner, family member, or friend.
Your therapist may be able to help you see things from their side, giving you a clearer understanding of them along with the situation.
Your mental health can affect your physical health. Yes, really.
People who are dealing with chronic stress or anxiety may find that they have a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, aches and pains, and shortness of breath.
So, it makes sense that if you work on your anxiety through therapy, these uncomfortable (and, at times, scary) symptoms should subside.
Research also supports the fact that addressing mental health issues can influence how your body feels.
A review of studies found that some psychotherapeutic interventions promoted physical health.
Nobody knows what curveballs life may throw at you. Whether it’s a bad breakup, death of a loved one, loss of a job, or even just a frustrating argument, therapy can help you learn healthy coping skills and tactics that will last you for the rest of your life.
With these skills, you can rest assured that you will approach anything life has to offer with a healthy mindset.
While it may not seem like it at first, chipping away at your past, present and future can help relieve stress on levels you didn’t even know you had.
These conversations with a therapist can help you unlock greater self-understanding and can help you embrace yourself for who you truly are.
Building self-compassion can help you forgive yourself when you hit life’s hiccups, too, so you can move forward without getting stuck in the negatives.
Let’s face it; people get more things done when they’re happy. So, when therapy helps you uncover personal challenges and obstacles (such as being reacting with too much emotion or overthinking), you can then work with your therapist to come up with a game plan on how to tackle them.
According to a study titled “Happiness and Productivity” published in the Journal of Labor Economics, study participants who were made happier at random produced 12% more productivity. Bottom line: with great happiness comes great productivity.
A good mental health provider can guide you through some of life’s hardest challenges.
Through counseling, you’ll be able to recognize negative emotions and bad behavior patterns and can nip them in the bud.
From addressing mental health disorders (like depression) to improving your resilience and helping you navigate relationships, you should notice aspects of your life improving once you start therapy.
If you’re ready to begin, try online therapy to discuss what type of mental health treatment may work for you.