Is Therapy Worth It?
by Molli Carlson
If you're considering therapy, you're probably facing an emotional burden you aren't equipped to tackle alone. It could be a specific, pressing concern, like an eating disorder or binge drinking. It might be thematic, like struggling to communicate with your partner and relationship issues. Or maybe it's a lurking, overarching issue, such as general anxiety or depressive tendencies.
Whatever you're dealing with, a well-suited therapist is there to provide you with the tools to identify, navigate, and eventually handle any related crises.
But if you're unfamiliar with therapy, then the investment – of both time and money – may deter you from seeking it out in the first place. You might wonder if therapy is worth the seemingly steep costs, or whether weekly sessions will fit into your already tight schedule. In short, you might be wondering if therapy is worth it.
Here are some things to consider when weighing therapy's potential role in your life.
Therapy takes time – and personal commitment
Unlike with, say, a visit to the salon, or the number of "likes" received on social media, the gratification from therapy isn't instantaneous. Changing habits or the way we think takes time. Being patient with yourself and the process is crucial.
Equally crucial is your personal commitment: Therapy is hard work. It's not easy to dig deep and take a look at your internal issues. At first, you might not feel good, or even like the sessions are helping. In fact, many therapists give the disclaimer from the onset that “you may feel temporarily worse before feeling better."
The good news is that once you hit a groove, the results will start speaking for themselves. Some people feel emotionally lighter in a matter of weeks; others, at that point, are just starting to recognize their negative thought processes and patterns. Remain an active participant in the process by continuing to develop goals for what you want from your and your therapist's time together.
Part of therapy is being honest with yourself – including about whether it's working
One circumstance in which therapy might not be worth your time or money? When you feel stuck seeing a practitioner you aren't fully satisfied with.
Therapists are professionals whose objective is to provide help above all else. If, after 2-3 sessions, you feel your needs aren't being met, give yourself permission to tell your therapist it isn't working. Therapy is only worth it when you have a safe, supportive environment in which to grow.
Therapy doesn't need to be a financial burden
For many, one of the biggest obstacles to mental health care is affordability. Between deciphering insurance jargon and covering up-front costs, counseling can feel like a financial headache at best, and at worst, impossible.
Luckily, many therapists provide in-network services, which significantly reduce per-session costs. Alternatively, if you choose an out-of-network therapist, he or she can help you navigate those benefits. Still others offer sliding scale rates, which are fees based on client income. If you're a student, your campus wellness center may provide a number of covered mental health sessions per semester, too.
With so many payment methods available, it can be possible to find a therapist within your budget – meaning money no longer needs to stand between you and counseling.
Personal growth is invaluable
Bottom line: When it comes to therapy, "worth it" looks different for everyone. But a therapist is there to validate your issues and offer support as you work through them, eventually helping you grow as an individual. And that growth is, in itself, invaluable.
Molli is Zencare's Content Marketing Strategist. Her longtime passion for inner well-being has found a happy home in Zencare, where she utilizes her editorial background to bust mental health stigmas and increase access to therapy through the power of the written word.