Is therapy worth the money?

Therapy can be expensive and comes with no guarantee; why should one invest in it?
Is therapy worth the money?

Therapy, specifically talk therapy or counseling, is a process in which the therapist helps a person learn more about their thoughts, feelings and behavior, and the (possible) reasons for experiencing them. Once the person becomes aware of these thoughts and feelings, the therapist helps them learn better coping skills to deal with their emotional issues.

Most therapies are focused on solving problems and are goal-oriented. They are designed to address the underlying emotional issues that lead to the person’s distress. The goals are further broken down into small objectives, which makes it easier to measure their progress. The role of a therapist is to help the person attain these goals, in order to change their thought process.

In spite of its many benefits, people are hesitant to go for therapy because of a misplaced belief that it is too expensive. Some of the things people commonly say are:

  • I just can’t afford a therapist.

  • Why should I pay someone so much money to listen to me?

  • I’d rather stay miserable than pay someone so that I can talk to them.

Moreover, a therapist cannot guarantee that you will come out better after your therapy sessions. Therapy is a collaborative effort between the person and their therapist; sometimes they might not have a good rapport. This could result in slow progress or in some cases, no progress at all, requiring the person to try a new therapist. Sometimes, the person might need to try a few therapists before they find one they are comfortable with. Given these concerns, why should a person pay so much money for counseling if it might not even work?

The answer lies in the studies, which show that majority of people who receive therapy get better compared to those who do not. Here are some reasons why a person should get therapy even if they think it is expensive:

  • Effectiveness: In the long run, therapy can have more enduring effects than medication in some cases.1

  • Price: The common perception is that signing up for therapy will burn a hole in your pocket. This is not entirely true; there are many therapists who start at a very reasonable rate. Some therapists even have a graded scale of fees, depending on the client’s financial capabilities.

  • Trial sessions: Many therapists offer a free trial session. The client can avail of this to try and gauge whether they are comfortable with the therapist. If not, then the client loses nothing.

  • Prevention of more severe physical/mental illnesses: We are all aware of the growing amount of stress people experience today. It is also known that excess stress can cause severe physical health complications. Treatment of those issues would eventually cost far more, so investing in therapy early can be beneficial later.

  • Quality of life: People who suffer from anxiety, depression and other mental health issues, have poor quality of life. They are unable to perform to their full potential at work, their efficiency reduces, leading to increased stress. They may also have mood swings that render them undesirable company. People start to alienate them, which again increases their stress levels.

All factors considered, therapy is beneficial and cost-effective for those suffering from emotional distress. The most important factor is that the person must want to get better. While some of the benefits mentioned above do not have a monetary value attached to them, for each person the cost-benefit analysis might be different. However, the common consensus is that therapy helps people get better more often than not.

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