Six benefits of therapy

Medically reviewed by April Justice
Updated January 22, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

People choose to seek therapy for diverse reasons, and there are many benefits to seeing a mental health professional. Talk therapy can support improved communication skills and help clients develop coping strategies for mental health conditions. Whether you’re already in therapy, considering seeing a psychologist, or considering trying online therapy for mental health symptoms, understanding the potential benefits of psychotherapy and its foundations is helpful when learning about its various benefits.

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Anyone can benefit from therapy

A brief overview of psychotherapy

To summarize, psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is a mental health care option that involves working with a specialist to treat various mental health issues including, but not limited to, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depressive disorder, eating disorders, addiction, daily stressors, substance abuse issues, and relationship challenges.

Using evidence-based practices, psychotherapists help clients develop an effective treatment plan and coping skills to manage their specific mental health condition. The treatment and its outcomes depend largely on the individual, their unique challenges, and their goals.

But therapy isn't just for people looking to receive treatment for mental illness; many American adults find therapy beneficial for coping with the challenges of daily life, including struggles with relationships, significant life events, and more, and they use the BetterHelp therapeutic process to improve their holistic well-being.

When working with a therapist, whether in individual, group, or couples therapy, it’s important to find one who you feel comfortable with. Your therapist should focus their time and energy on the treatment process and your communication during sessions. The improvements that come from therapy can take different amounts of time depending on your situation. 

The benefits of therapy
There are a variety of potential benefits associated with therapy that the client will likely use at different stages during the treatment process. The intended goal is to treat the causes and symptoms of mental health issues so the client can lead a healthy, productive life. 

1. Learning healthy coping mechanisms

A licensed psychologist works with clients to develop coping strategies for mental health challenges. The ability to meet and move beyond these challenges in a healthy, positive, and constructive manner is essential for healing and relieving the symptoms associated with mental health issues. Developing healthy coping skills isn’t only appropriate for individuals experiencing a mental illness. All humans face difficult challenges in life that may seem overwhelming at times; anyone can benefit from learning to handle them effectively.

2. Contributing to your support system

Part of a therapist’s job is to help clients feel supported and less isolated in coping with their challenges. Whether it’s literally or figuratively when we feel like we’re facing our problems alone, not only can they be more difficult to overcome, but the feelings of isolation may add to them. This can cause more symptoms of mental illness, including the manifestation of physical symptoms. Along with friends and family members, your therapist can contribute to your support system by actively listening, asking appropriate questions, and then working with you on a treatment plan.

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3. Meeting your goals

Throughout the process of treatment, you and your therapist can work together to help set the life goals that you’d like to achieve. Your therapist will also assist you on your journey of reaching and fulfilling these life goals. This can be an impactful part of therapy that not only provides the reward of accomplishment but also sets you up for continued success.  Accomplishing goals contributes to healthy self-esteem and increased confidence. This plays a pivotal role in treatment for many.

4. Overcoming past trauma

If issues from the past, particularly those related to traumatic events, are not addressed, they can linger and adversely impact your day-to-day life. Overcoming past trauma is not always easy, but it is possible if you work with a therapist. 

It’s natural to feel hesitant or uneasy about discussing prior traumas and upsetting events. For some, current difficulties may be the result of prior difficulties or trauma, and by addressing that root cause, you may be better equipped to move forward. It will likely take time, but with dedication and willingness, and with the help of your therapist, you can move past prior difficulties and see benefits in the present.

5. Improve relationships and develop better conflict resolution skills

Improving your relationships with yourself and others can take time, but this can be one benefit of working with a therapist. For many, relationships have such an intimate tie with our quality of life and who we are as people. Healthy relationships can make us better people, while unhealthy relationships may contribute to our mental health issues.

The benefits of therapy are not limited to your relationships with others but also yourself. This sets the tone for how you will interact with others and how you’ll communicate. Therefore, having a healthy relationship with yourself is essential to having healthy and full relationships with others.

For many, optimal quality of life means enjoying positive, mutually beneficial relationships. If you’re experiencing difficulties with relationships, family therapy, and group therapy can help you identify the issues causing conflict and build and maintain healthy relationships in all aspects of life. 

6. Managing difficult emotions in a healthy way

When clients work with a therapist, one of the main goals is to eliminate deeply ingrained self-destructive habits and reactionary behaviors around emotions such as anger and resentment. Feelings like these are natural for humans, but not everyone handles them the same. For some, their reaction to these feelings can cause problems in key relationships, day-to-day life, and other important areas. In many cases, therapy involves helping individuals isolate and understand the source of difficult emotions and providing various constructive options for handling them. Dialectical behavior therapy is one type of therapy that can be particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing intense emotions.

Therapy is for anyone

Along your journey, you may notice additional benefits of therapy which are not on this list. There are some common benefits that virtually everyone experiences with mental health therapy, and then there may be therapy benefits tailored to your unique experience that become apparent with time. It is important to understand that your therapy goals may need to follow the SMART Goal model. If however, you are not sure what to specifically achieve from the therapy, the therapists will help you discover the goals you want to obtain.

Therapy is helpful for treating mental health concerns like anxiety, stress, depression, addiction, and more. But it’s important to note that not everyone experiences these problems the same way, and the therapeutic process of treatment is unique for each person. The therapeutic treatment approach best suited to your needs will likely depend on the therapeutic relationship with your therapist, your preferences, and your challenges. 

The stigma associated with therapy is quickly changing, and reaching out for help with navigating life’s challenges is becoming more and more common. The attitude that asking for mental health help, wanting therapy, or needing therapy indicates a personal failure has shifted as more people have come to understand that therapy is beneficial for a variety of situations and doesn’t indicate “sickness” or “weakness.” In fact, seeking and utilizing therapy often takes a good deal of courage and strength.

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Anyone can benefit from therapy

Benefits of online therapy

An increasingly large amount of research points to online counseling or online therapy as an effective form of treatment. In one broad-based report, researchers examined the benefits of online therapy for individual therapy when applied to a range of issues. In one study, researchers found internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy to be just as effective as in-person CBT for anxiety and depression. Researchers also found that the online course of treatment required less time than in-person treatment.

Takeaway

If you’re not comfortable discussing certain issues like stress with relationships, self-improvement, certain health conditions, or depression, speaking to a therapist online may be a good solution. In recent years, American adults have been seeking therapy more frequently and platforms like BetterHelp connect people with a wide range of mental health professionals to match their individual needs without the need to visit a brick-and-mortar office or attend in-person therapy sessions. Clients can participate in therapy or counseling services anytime from the comfort of home or anywhere with an internet connection. 

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The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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