Depression and anxiety are common, affecting millions of adults in our country. And many people who need professional treatment don’t get it. But for those who do seek help, the first course of recommended treatment is often medication.
But there is another treatment choice available to everyone: Psychotherapy. Not only has research shown that psychotherapy is effective in treating certain types of psychological problems, it also teaches skills that arm people with new strategies to deal more effectively with problems if they arise again in the future.
The next time you feel anxious, depressed or need help managing difficult times or overwhelming situations, consider psychotherapy.
5 reasons why psychotherapy might be the right choice
1. You learn to work through your own problems.
We’ve all heard the expression, “Give a man fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.” That’s the idea behind psychotherapy. There’s a lot that goes into the process of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy takes time and work, but as you progress along, you learn more effective ways to tackle problems and solve difficult situations. And in the end, that means you have developed skills and tools such as different ways of thinking, more effective coping mechanisms, and improved problem-solving.
2. No one is taking a side, except to help you.
During psychotherapy, a psychologist listens to what you say without judgment, no matter how embarrassing, shameful or frightening your thoughts or feelings are to you. People often reveal things during psychotherapy that are scary and very personal, and the fear of how others will respond or react is normal. The role of the psychologist is to remain neutral, to help you cope better with the troubling situation, and to work with you to find a good solution for your concerns.
3. Your secrets are safe.
Whatever you tell a psychologist during psychotherapy is confidential and private. Ethics codes and licensing laws require that psychologists remain silent about what is discussed or shared during psychotherapy, unless you or someone else’s life is in danger. You need to give written permission even if your psychologist wants to discuss your case with your physician. Confidentiality is sacred!
4. Long-term value can’t be beat.
Compared to the use of medication alone, which may seem like a more cost-effective option in the short term, research has shown that the benefits of psychotherapy extend to your physical health as well, often resulting in better physical health and lowering of your overall health costs over time. Plus, insurance changes through the mental health parity law mean more people have access to psychological services, like psychotherapy, with benefits comparable to those for their physical health coverage.
5. Psychotherapy works!
Multiple studies show that for many conditions and concerns, psychotherapy works, and it works well. People with mild-to-moderate depression begin to feel better after just a few sessions. Some countries are even requiring psychotherapy as the first line of treatment for anxiety and depression. The research is still growing, and more good news about how psychotherapy helps is expected.
Too many people avoid treatment for common conditions like depression and anxiety. They may be burdened by chronic stress that is getting in the way of good sleep, healthy eating and quality relationships. Physical well-being may also suffer. So getting help, even if only from medication, is a step. But it may not be the best first step. And it shouldn’t be the only step.
If you, or someone you know, is ready to start on the road to better health, consider psychotherapy – it’s more than a quick fix! It has staying power.