Why does Psychology therapy work?

Firstly great question…..

You may even have thought that therapy doesn’t work, or it’s not for me, or talking about my problems doesn’t help.

Therapy is a different for everyone, and there are common myths and misconceptions that aren’t true, that may be preventing you from receiving the benefits that therapy can offer.

So, what is therapy?

I think this is the first and most important place to start to ensure that there aren’t any further misconceptions.

Therapy is an evidence based process geared at teaching you how your mind works. You are supported as you navigate your feelings, develop better behaviours, and relate to and understand your thoughts differently so you can live the life you want. Therapists who use clinically-proven techniques like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) work with you to set goals, track progress, and measure results. You will be taught skills to build emotional resilience so you can eventually leave therapy and manage on your own. It is a collaborative relationship and interactive process. Therapy is a high-value, but temporary, investment in yourself and it is up to you to apply what is learnt in sessions.

Myth: Therapy doesn’t work!

Therapy really does get a bad rap considering all the good it does.

Maybe you or someone you know has had a negative experience with therapy so you might be supportive of this myth. I have to say I have heard too many horrible stories of people’s detrimental therapy experiences. I am so very sorry if you have felt unheard or unsupported when you have been vulnerable and reached out to a therapist. 

But I hope this doesn’t mean you will give up. If you had a bad experience with a dentist, or a hairdresser, it is unlikely you would assume all dentists or hairdressers are a waste of time. You would find a better dentist or hairdresser!

The truth is that therapy really does work. Scientific studies consistently show that behavioural and emotional interventions work as well, and often better, than medication to treat anxiety, depression, and many other mental health issues. Therapy, like CBT, teaches you skills that will provide you with long-term, healthy coping strategies that you can use when issues arise.

Myth: Therapy is not for me!

There can be a misconception that therapy is for those with things like depression or anxiety i.e. an actual diagnoses, or for people who are really unwell! And while it can be extremely helpful for those who may fall in to this sort of category, it is also incredibly valuable for those with milder conditions and to build positive mental habits.

This perspective allows you to view mental health with a preventative mindset, allowing for the opportunity to catch, and treat, any downward trends in your well-being before they become bigger problems. Issues caught early may require less work and can be resolved faster. 

Some situations in which you definitely should consider therapy:

  • When your mental health is causing physical harm (e.g., you’re suicidal; you’re binging)
  • When your thoughts, feelings, or behaviours interfering with you living a normal life (e.g. you’re not sleeping; you’re avoiding things you would normally like doing).
  • When your relationships or employment are being negatively impacted (e.g. loved one’s are voicing concern about your well-being; performance issues put your job at risk).

Myth: Talking about my problems doesn’t help

Therapy provides a safe place for you to talk freely and process your emotions; however a good therapist does more than just listen. They are looking for patterns and causalities, chains of emotions and thoughts that produce behaviours, emotional triggers, even mistakes or places where the gears get stuck and then provide support to help you make it work better. 

Therapy should involve learning skills and building tools to help you to manage your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Talking about your problems and feelings is simply part of the process.

So in a nut shell…..

Therapy works because it is scientifically based interventions delivered by trained therapists in collaboration with you. It is skill building, strategy development to increase insight and resilience via a therapeutic relationship of trust and support. By creating a relationship where clients can feel safe enough to let go of misperceptions of themselves and others and to try out new behaviours, therapists open the door for clients to discover and accept a more nuanced view of themselves and their situation, which assists them in the healing process.

Written by: Cheryl Gale, Psychologist – Proactive Health + Movement

You may even have thought that therapy doesn’t work, or it’s not for me, or talking about my problems doesn’t help.

Therapy is a different for everyone, and there are common myths and misconceptions that aren’t true, that may be preventing you from receiving the benefits that therapy brings.

So, what is therapy?

I think this is the first and most important place to start to ensure that there aren’t any further misconceptions.

Therapy is an evidence based process geared at teaching you how your mind works. You are supported as you navigate your feelings, develop better behaviours, and relate to and understand your thoughts differently so you can live the life you want. Therapists who use clinically-proven techniques like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) work with you to set goals, track progress, and measure results. You will be taught skills to build emotional resilience so you can eventually leave therapy and manage on your own. It is a collaborative relationship and interactive process. Therapy is a high-value, but temporary, investment in yourself and it is up to you to apply what is learnt in sessions.

Myth: Therapy doesn’t work!

Therapy really does get a bad rap considering all the good it does.

Maybe you or someone you know has had a negative experience with therapy so you might be supportive of this myth. I have to say I have heard too many horrible stories of people’s detrimental therapy experiences. I am so very sorry if you have felt unheard or unsupported when you have been vulnerable and reached out to a therapist. 

But I hope this doesn’t mean you will give up. If you had a bad experience with a dentist, or a hairdresser, it is unlikely you would assume all dentists or hairdressers are a waste of time. You would find a better dentist or hairdresser!

The truth is that therapy really does work. Scientific studies consistently show that behavioural and emotional interventions work as well, and often better, than medication to treat anxiety, depression, and many other mental health issues. Therapy, like CBT, teaches you skills that will provide you with long-term, healthy coping strategies that you can use when issues arise.

Myth: Therapy is not for me!

There can be a misconception that therapy is for those with things like depression or anxiety i.e. an actual diagnoses, or for people who are really unwell! And while it can be extremely helpful for those who may fall in to this sort of category, it is also incredibly valuable for those with milder conditions and to build positive mental habits.

This perspective allows you to view mental health with a preventative mindset, allowing for the opportunity to catch, and treat, any downward trends in your well-being before they become bigger problems. Issues caught early may require less work and can be resolved faster. 

Some situations in which you definitely should consider therapy:

  • When your mental health is causing physical harm (e.g., you’re suicidal; you’re binging)
  • When your thoughts, feelings, or behaviours interfering with you living a normal life (e.g. you’re not sleeping; you’re avoiding things you would normally like doing).
  • When your relationships or employment are being negatively impacted (e.g. loved one’s are voicing concern about your well-being; performance issues put your job at risk).

Myth: Talking about my problems doesn’t help

Therapy provides a safe place for you to talk freely and process your emotions; however a good therapist does more than just listen. They are looking for patterns and causalities, chains of emotions and thoughts that produce behaviours, emotional triggers, even mistakes or places where the gears get stuck and then provide support to help you make it work better. 

Therapy should involve learning skills and building tools to help you to manage your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Talking about your problems and feelings is simply part of the process.

So in a nut shell…..

Therapy works because it is scientifically based interventions delivered by trained therapists in collaboration with you. It is skill building, strategy development to increase insight and resilience via a therapeutic relationship of trust and support. By creating a relationship where clients can feel safe enough to let go of misperceptions of themselves and others and to try out new behaviours, therapists open the door for clients to discover and accept a more nuanced view of themselves and their situation, which assists them in the healing process.


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