In this article, we’re exploring the benefits of talk therapy.
The Benefits of Talk Therapy
Talk therapy, also known as either CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) or DBT (dialectical behavior therapy), refers to the act of addressing the issues of life through conversation with a therapist. There are many specialties within the realm of talk therapy, and deciding upon which one is right for you will depend upon your unique situation and individual preference. It is also important to link with a talk therapist who can properly understand your situation and one who will help you to feel at ease with sharing the intimate details of your mental life. With this good fit between client and therapist in mind, here are some of the benefits of participating in talk therapy.
1. Problem Solving
One of the main reasons that people seek out talk therapy is to work through some current issue or problem that is going on. Common problems for talk therapy are those surrounding relationship issues and job stress. A skilled talk therapist will be able to help you sort out the pieces of the puzzle and assist in leading you toward finding your own solutions. Having a knowledgeable, neutral, outside party to bounce ideas off of can be therapeutic, in itself.
2. Reducing Loneliness
While having a therapist is not the same thing as having a friend, finding one who has the capability to truly understand where you are coming from can be the first step toward your development of a less lonely existence. Though the advent of the internet has provided us with a means to connect to more like-minded people over the past decades, the deterioration of social ties within our communities can leave us feeling as though we live on a deserted island. Finding a talk therapist who can understand and normalize your thoughts, feelings, and experiences can serve as a helpful reminder that you are not alone.
3. Making the Abstract More Concrete
Most of us have heard the idiom about not being able to see the forest for the trees. What this refers to is the phenomenon of being too close to a problem to be able to recognize it, much less to see a way out of it. Many people come into talk therapy with a random array of disconnected thoughts, emotions, and ideas about what is going on. Pulling out those aspects of perspective with your therapist, one by one, and examining them for viability through reality testing can provide you with mental clarity and an increased sense of control over life.
4. Increasing Insight
Greek philosophers charged us with the admonition to know ourselves, and the importance of this directive has not decreased in the centuries which have followed. Becoming aware of what we do, and why we do it, is one of the most powerful tools necessary for developing a fulfilling life. A talk therapist will work with you to uncover your patterns of behavior and the underlying motives which prompt you. As you begin to solve the mystery of your own existence, you will also often find that you are able to better discern the motives and behaviors of others.
5. Recognition of Patterns
Unless we are mindfulness masters, chances are good that we spend most of our days completing tasks and otherwise moving forward while on autopilot. We become dependent on our habits and routines to operate as our navigation system and get us through the day. If these habits are healthy, we likely won’t see a need for therapy. Unhealthy habits, however, have a way of causing us to repeat the kinds of decisions and actions which end up putting us in less than desirable situations. A talk therapist is trained to recognize these types of patterns, and to highlight them as common themes within a life that is less than satisfactory.
6. Development of New Coping Skills
Becoming aware of problems doesn’t mean all that much if we lack the ability to resolve them. Talk therapists typically have a large stash of tools for helping clients to learn how to effectively approach difficult problems and successfully address them. Whether the solutions to the difficulties lie in adjusting your own responses and expectations, or in dealing with the actions of others, your therapist will work with you to find a set of coping skills to fit your individual needs.
7. Improved Interactions
One of the less obvious benefits of talk therapy is the process of modeling and rehearsal. Interactions with a therapist operate as a sort of microcosm of the outside world. The way that you communicate with your therapist is typically reflective of the way that you interact with others. Through therapy, you have an avenue to explore how your communication style is better able to serve you in your relationships.
8. Development of Self
Throughout the entire process of talk therapy, there will run the underlying theme of self-development. Often, the problem that prompts a person to initially begin therapy is only the tip of an iceberg. In psychology, there is a concept known as self-actualization. While it was once believed that most people naturally reach this point of development during their adulthood, it is now considered that reaching this pinnacle of existence takes some concentrated effort. Exploring what it means for you to become your best self is great content for talk therapy.
9. Hope for the Future
Getting a handle on our problems can make a world of difference when it comes to our self-confidence. Successfully working through one problem also provides us with the hope and determination necessary for taking on challenges in our future. Resilience is one of the most important factors of success, and talk therapy can assist you in taking stock and gathering up your resources for moving onward.
10. Long-Lasting Effects
Mental health treatment trends come and go, with some having more staying power than others. Talk therapy has survived the decades as one of the most popular forms of treatment. This is due to the vast amount of material that is able to be addressed, and the highly customizable nature of this modality. The coping skills, insight, clarity, and self-development gained through psychotherapy can be applied and adapted to any manner of situation that will be encountered in your future.
Now that you know the benefits of talk therapy, you may be interested in joining an intensive outpatient program for help. This is especially important if you find yourself reaching for certain substances, like alcohol or drugs, to ease the uncomfortable feelings associated with anxiety or depression.
If you live with a co-occurring disorder, consider joining a program to receive the addiction treatment and mental health guidance you need to feel better and live healthier.