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  • Sam DiFranco

Benefits and Options for Therapy

Wondering if therapy is right for you? You’re not alone.

Seeking help from a mental health expert is something many people consider, especially when:

  1. facing a significant crisis

  2. dealing with an extended period of anxiety or depression

  3. coping with a major life transition

  4. dealing with complicated family dynamics

  5. grappling with problems in a relationship

  6. trying to manage addiction or substance abuse

  7. wanting to make changes for better mental and emotional health

Regardless of your reason, therapy offers a broad array of benefits for all of us. Here are six types of therapy and the benefits of each.

Benefits of talk therapy

Talk therapy (aka psychotherapy) is a tool used by:

  1. psychiatrists

  2. psychologist

  3. therapists

Talk therapy encourages open and honest dialogue about issues that cause you distress. Through your relationship with your therapist, you’ll work to identify and understand how these stressors are impacting your life, plus develop strategies to manage the symptoms.

If you’re still on the fence about the benefits of talk therapy, consider this: About 75 percent of people who participate in talk therapy experience some benefit, according to the American Psychological Association.

Benefits of individual therapy

In the case of individual therapy, the relationship between you and your therapist — which is fostered through talk therapy — is key to your success.

Individual therapy gives you a safe space to explore your thoughts, feelings, and concerns.

Unlike couples, family, or group therapy, individual therapy focuses solely on you. This allows for a deeper understanding of the issues and more time for developing coping strategies to help you handle difficult situations.

The goal of individual therapy is to inspire change and improve the quality of life through self-awareness and self-exploration.

Being in therapy can also:

  1. help improve communication skills

  2. help you feel empowered

  3. empower you to develop fresh insights about your life

  4. learn how to make healthier choices

  5. develop coping strategies to manage distress

Benefits of family therapy

When families face hurdles that seem a bit too high to conquer on their own, they may seek help from a family therapist. According to the  American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy a therapist can:

  1. evaluate and treat mental and emotional disorders

  2. evaluate and treat behavioral problems

  3. address relationship issues within the context of the family system

Unlike individual therapy, treatment isn’t just for one person — even if that’s the only member of the family working with the therapist. Instead, the focus is on the set of relationships that make up the family unit.

Some of the most notable benefits of family therapy include:

  1. improving communication skills

  2. providing help treating mental health concerns that impact the family unit (such as substance abuse, depression, or trauma)

  3. offering collaboration among family members

  4. developing individual coping strategies

  5. identifying ways to find healthy support

Benefits of couples therapy

Think couples therapy is only for people having problems? Think again!

Marriage and family therapists are the first to say that couples therapy is an effective way to keep a relationship on track before it goes off the rails. But if the strains are real and communicating is almost impossible, going to therapy allows couples to meet with a neutral party.

One of the foundational goals of couples therapy is learning how to improve interpersonal dynamics. A 2016 research review source suggest that couples therapy is an effective treatment when a couple is experiencing individual and relational distress.

Couples seek therapy for a variety of reasons. Some of the more common benefits cited by couples include:

  1. improving communication skills

  2. resolving conflict

  3. restoring lost trust

  4. increasing shared support

  5. restoring intimacy

  6. learning how to support each other through difficult times

  7. forming a stronger bond

The takeaway

Working with a psychologist, therapist, or counselor in a therapeutic relationship gives you an opportunity to explore your thoughts, feelings, and patterns of behavior.

It can also help you learn new coping skills and techniques to better manage daily stressors and symptoms associated with your diagnosis.

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