When should you consider psychotherapy?

Because of the many misconceptions about psychotherapy, you may be reluctant to try it out. Even if you know the realities instead of the myths, you may feel nervous about trying it yourself.

Overcoming that nervousness is worth it. That’s because any time your quality of life isn’t what you want it to be, psychotherapy can help. You don’t need to be at the end of the rope to get help. You don’t need to be at the end of the road to benefit from psychotherapy. Even when you are feeling well, therapy can help you identify thought patterns that affect the way you cope with stress, or help you process past experiences that are painful.

Some people seek psychotherapy because they have felt depressed, anxious or angry for a long time. Others may want help for a chronic illness that is interfering with their emotional or physical well-being. Still others may have short-term problems they need help navigating. They may be going through a divorce, facing an empty nest, feeling overwhelmed by a new job or grieving a family member's death, for example.

What are some signs that you could benefit from therapy?

  • You feel an overwhelming, prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness.
  • Your problems don't seem to get better despite your efforts and help from family and friends.
  • You find it difficult to concentrate on work assignments or to carry out other everyday activities.
  • You worry excessively, expect the worst or are constantly on edge.
  • Your actions, such as drinking too much alcohol, using drugs or being aggressive, are harming you or others.

How long until you feel better?

The time it takes for you to feel better can be individual to you, and may vary from person to person. You may feel an immediate sense of relief when you begin therapy. This might be because you are being listened to for the first time, or because you have been struggling for a long time. You may also feel anxious or distressed at first. This may be because you have to focus on difficult feelings that you might prefer to ignore. You may find it helpful to discuss any concerns you have about how you are reacting to the therapy – at any stage. Therapy can only help someone go as deep or as far as they want to. Addressing the root cause of things can take time and the person has to be ready to do that.

Isn't therapy expensive? How cost-effective is it?

The benefits of psychotherapy also extends to your wallet! Clients who have psychotherapy spend about 30% less in medical costs compared to those who have not received psychotherapy. Research shows that psychotherapy is the more cost effective intervention in the long-run compared to no-treatment or to pharmacological treatments which has medication side-effects.


Adapted from