The Value of Starting Therapy: Embrace Your Journey to Empowerment

47% of Americans believe that seeking therapy is a sign of weakness, according to one SWNS research study conducted by Onepoll on behalf of Vida Health. While the stigma surrounding mental health care can keep many at bay when it comes to seeking out treatment, some may believe that therapy is ineffective. From understanding the options out there to the research behind the efficacy of therapy for mental health — and how one can go about embracing their own journey, here’s what you should consider.

A variety of options

It’s important to note that there are a variety of different types of therapies available — from music therapy to cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, art therapy and beyond. Healthline notes that while some approaches work best for specific conditions (for instance, exposure therapy might work best for addressing phobias), others can help with a range of issues.

As for what’s involved with therapy (generally speaking), Healthline explains that what you’ll do in each appointment will depend on your therapist’s preferred methods as well as the issues you’re looking to address. In psychodynamic therapy, for instance, it’s noted that you’ll work with your therapist to “find a connection between your unconscious mind and your actions.”

This therapy may be good for addressing anxiety, depression, and a variety of other conditions, though it’s far from the only therapy out there. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another popular approach, which works by helping you become aware of inaccurate/negative thinking to view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in an effective way, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The efficacy of psychotherapy

Psychoanalysis and CBT are types of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is a type of treatment that can help people who are experiencing a range of mental health conditions and emotional challenges, can help alleviate symptoms and help identify the root causes of a condition, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

It’s further noted that about 75% of individuals 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,” states the post. Among some of the additional benefits listed include fewer sick days as well as increased work satisfaction.

VeryWell Mind further dives into the efficacy of therapy, noting that recent research has shown that psychotherapy is an effective form of treatment for some anxiety disorders, mood disorders, eating disorders and grief and trauma. Benefits of psychotherapy involve improved communication skills, healthier thinking patterns, the ability to make healthier choices, and better coping strategies to manage distress (to name a few).

Further regarding the efficacy of therapy, VeryWell Mind’s Cost of Therapy Survey found that eight in 10 Americans in therapy believe it to be a good investment despite the high costs. Additionally, 91% are satisfied with the quality of therapy they recieve, and 84% are satisfied with their progress toward personal mental health goals.

Breaking the stigma

The percentage of adults getting mental health treatment increased from 19.2% in 2019 to 21.6% in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While more adults are seeking treatment for mental health, however, there is still a stigma attached to getting help. A post from the Mayo Clinic points out that it’s important to not let stigma create self-doubt and shame.

“Seeking counseling, educating yourself about your condition and connecting with others who have mental illness can help you gain self-esteem and overcome destructive self-judgment.” The Mayo Clinic further goes on to suggest joining a support group, pointing out that some local and national groups (such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)) offer local programs and online resources that work to reduce stigma through educating individuals with mental illness as well as their families and the public.

Embarking on your own journey

Therapy can help with a variety of issues, from addiction to grief/loss, depression, phobias and relationships, people can seek out therapy for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s managing long-term or severe stress or processing a traumatic event, experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, or simply discussing personal issues that you don’t feel comfortable talking about elsewhere (to name just a few).

For those who are ready to start their journey and better their mental wellbeing, PsychCentral notes that primary care physicians and family doctors can be a great resource by referring you to a mental health professional that fits your needs.

It’s worth mentioning that you don’t have to stick with the first therapist that you find — in fact, one Forbes Health article highlights the words of Kamran Eshtehardi, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist in Pasadena, California. “Someone might want to switch therapists when therapy is feeling ineffective for irreconcilable reasons,” Eshtehardi explains.

Whether it’s simply not a good fit or the therapeutic style isn’t right for you, switching therapists can be a common step forward in finding what works for you. Using services that connect you with a professional can be ideal when starting your journey in caring for your mental health, whether you’re looking for a marriage and family therapist, psychologist, or counselor.

Starting therapy can be daunting, especially for those who are new to the idea. However, there are a variety of fantastic benefits that come along with therapy, regardless as to what issues you wish to address.

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