Three Benefits Of Therapy: Statistics And Facts

Medically reviewed by Nikki Ciletti, M.Ed, LPC
Updated April 15, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Therapy has become an increasingly important part of mental health care in recent years, with a growing number of people seeking psychotherapy treatment for conditions such as anxiety disorders and depression. According to the American Psychological Association, the demand for therapy has grown consistently since 2020, with 80% of psychologists reporting that they have seen a significant increase in demand for mental health treatment.

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Wondering how you could benefit from participating in therapy?

Therapy has the potential to be tailored to each person’s unique needs to improve emotional stability and reduce symptoms of mental illness. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy, and individuals who are new to the process may benefit from understanding what to expect and the advantages of receiving care. In this article, we’ll be discussing the benefits of therapy, as well as facts and statistics that may be useful to you if you’re looking to start the therapeutic process.

Why do people go to therapy?

People may seek therapy for various reasons, but one of the main driving factors is when mental health begins to affect the ability to lead a healthy, normal lifestyle. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the following symptoms may be indicative of a need for professional assistance:

  • Avoidance of friends and participation in life activities
  • Having low energy
  • Feeling numb or as if nothing matters
  • Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
  • Issues with addiction
  • Confusion
  • Uncontrollable anger
  • Severe mood swings 
  • Inability to focus on daily tasks
  • Lack of motivation

If you are struggling with substance use, contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 to receive support and resources. Support is available 24/7.

These are only a few examples, and the motivations for seeking therapy may vary between individuals.

No matter what the initial cause of seeking treatment may be, studies have shown that both online and in-person participation in therapy serves as more than just a quick fix and may help individuals gain deeper insights into themselves and improve overall life satisfaction. 

Depending on each person’s unique experience in therapy, individuals may find that they are more equipped to identify unhelpful patterns of behavior, increase their insight into life challenges, and improve brain health through the process of learning and recovery. Research also suggests that therapy may be able to provide long-term relief from symptoms related to various mental health conditions including anxiety and depression. 

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Benefits of therapy

Choosing to attend therapy may help individuals treat mental health conditions that are negatively affecting their lives. Some of the most important benefits of attending therapy include:

1. You can learn life skills that extend beyond treatment

A common component of therapy is learning how to cope with difficult emotions like fear, sadness, or anger. Therapists may provide their clients with strategies for managing these emotions to prevent them from becoming overwhelming and impairing daily functioning. These valuable insights gained during therapy may serve to help individuals build resilience and respond more healthily to stressors they encounter outside of treatment. 

Another important aspect of therapy can be exploring the underlying beliefs and root causes that may contribute to negative thoughts and behaviors. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps individuals identify and change automatic thinking patterns that lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. By examining these thought patterns and biases, individuals may be more equipped to recognize when they are entertaining unhelpful thoughts and develop healthier ways of responding.

Finally, therapy can also teach problem-solving skills which may be useful in various areas of life. Counselors may encourage individuals to take the initiative in overcoming obstacles instead of relying on others for solutions or engaging in avoidance behaviors. Through this process, self-reliance may be cultivated by developing an understanding of personal strengths and weaknesses, addressing physical health concerns, as well as identifying important individual values. 

This newfound sense of self-awareness may allow for more informed decisions and self-care practices that foster personal long-term growth. According to one study, researchers found that developing self-awareness skills in therapy served as an effective means for alleviating psychological distress in daily life experiences. 

2. You may be able to gain new perspectives

One essential aspect of maintaining positive health can involve learning to be adaptive when faced with difficult situations and emotions. A key aspect of adaptivity is the brain’s ability to reframe its perceptions and develop new connections, which is a process known as neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to the ability of the brain to form and reorganize neural connections throughout an individual's life. This process of neural change can be induced by environmental changes, behavioral experiences, and even the process of therapy. Neuroplasticity can affect how we learn, remember, and adapt to changes we encounter throughout our lives. 

Neuroplasticity can also play a role in those with mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders or depression. Psychotherapy treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy may be able to help facilitate neuroplastic changes in both the short-term and long-term by helping individuals identify patterns of thinking and behaviors while also teaching them more adaptive coping strategies. By using evidence-based psychotherapies such as CBT, individuals may be able to gain insight into their thoughts and feelings, which can help improve mental flexibility and the ability to make meaningful behavioral changes over time.

The learning and new perspectives gained through therapy may also allow individuals to process challenging experiences more effectively, improving emotional control and problem-solving abilities. This is because exploring various angles of a situation can help us reframe how we think about them and see things from different points of view. Additionally, by increasing our awareness of our own beliefs and behaviors as well as those around us, we may be able to develop healthier ways of relating to the world around us. 

3. It may manage and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety

According to the Census Bureau, as of 2023, nearly a third of all adults report experiencing some degree of anxiety and/or depression symptoms. Therapy can be a powerful tool for those struggling with anxiety and depression disorders by reducing symptoms and preventing them from worsening. In one study, researchers found that online therapy may be beneficial for people living with mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and bipolar disorder.

If you are experiencing trauma, support is available. Please see our Get Help Now page for more resources.

One of the main benefits of working with a mental health professional is that they can create an environment where individuals may feel comfortable talking openly about their experiences and feelings without fear of judgment. Working with difficult emotions in both individual and family therapy may allow people to get to the root cause of their issues and gain a clearer understanding of why they may be feeling the way they are. Additionally, talking in an environment such as this can help to increase self-awareness, which can be essential in managing mental health disorders. 

Another major benefit of therapy is that it can provide a safe space for people to express their emotions and work through them more effectively. By using techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), individuals can learn how to identify and change their negative thought patterns, behaviors, and emotions so they are not overwhelmed by them. 

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Wondering how you could benefit from participating in therapy?

Finally, psychotherapy treatment can also help people build lifelong coping skills which might enable them to productively manage the stressors that they’re facing. Therapists may teach their clients relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation. These strategies may help bring down an individual’s levels of anxiety and enable them to recognize triggers that lead to episodes of depression or anxiety. Individuals can also learn how to take steps early on to decrease the severity of their mental health symptoms. These benefits can all work together to enable healing and give individuals the tools and perspectives they need to work through the challenges of life. 

The benefit of online therapy

Since 2020, therapists have reported an overall positive experience when offering online therapy services to clients. For individuals living with certain mental health disorders, it may be difficult to leave the comfort of their own homes and open up about challenging emotions. Online therapy may offer an approachable way to receive professional mental health therapy at a time and in a place that’s convenient and flexible. With online therapy, you can meet with therapists through video chats, phone calls, or in-app messaging, depending on what you feel most comfortable with. The ease and availability of mental health services on online platforms may make it easier to get the support you’re searching for. 

In one study, researchers looked at the effectiveness of online-delivered cognitive-behavioral therapy compared to traditional in-person therapy. In the study, the team found that online cognitive behavioral therapy was just as effective as in-person therapy for managing and treating a range of mental health disorders including depression and anxiety. CBT is a therapeutic approach that recognizes the link between one’s thoughts and subsequent behaviors. By learning how to identify and change unhelpful ways of thinking, individuals can alter their behaviors and emotional responses to be more productive.

Takeaway

Therapy can offer numerous benefits for individuals going through a variety of challenges.  Those who are experiencing mental health concerns can learn lifelong skills, develop new perspectives, and improve their symptoms by working alongside a qualified therapist. Those who live with conditions like anxiety and depression could benefit from online therapy, which offers the same benefits as traditional therapy, but from the comfort of one’s own home. Regardless of the struggles you’re facing, you may find it useful to speak with a licensed therapist for support.
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