Does it help?
The past 50 years of research shows that therapy continues to be a very beneficial treatment for many people. See below for some research findings.
Therapy is a place where you can be yourself, solve problems, tell the truth about your strengths and weaknesses, your ups and downs, try out different perspectives, and not have to go it alone.
Since no two people are the same, I shape a unique therapy for each client and their particular situation, preferences, history and inner world. My relationship with each of my clients is a discovery process that evolves and deepens as we work together.
You may not know exactly what benefits you would like from therapy. This is common and can be explored in the first phone call or initial appointment.
Here's a list of counseling benefits. Maybe this will give you some ideas.
Get free of patterns that no longer serve you.
Understand what's happening.
Express your real values.
Increase your awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and what you want.
Speak of things you only think about...
Face painful or frustrating situations more effectively.
Get more love and cooperation from your partner or family.
Learn to calm down.
Ask for what you want.
Have better social skills.
Deal more effectively with a difficult co-worker.
Break free from habits that add to your unhappiness, or create health problems.
Make a plan of action and see if it works. If not, change it.
Be a good communicator.
Explore a concern that you aren't living up to your full potential.
Some research on the benefits of counseling...
Below are some of the important studies found in the psychotherapy research literature on counseling benefits, and medication outcomes.
Keep in mind that the more effective therapists may have even higher effectiveness rates than the averages represented below. Simply put, not all therapists, or therapy techniques, are equal in effectiveness with all clients.
1) Out of 4,000 people who went to therapy treatment for mental health problems, 87-92% reported feeling somewhat to much better after therapy. They developed more confidence, higher self esteem, and more enjoyment out of life from going to therapy. (Consumer Reports, 1995).
2) Many clients use good ideas from single sessions and run with them. For this reason, as much as 20-40% of clients in managed care (clients who use insurance) settings may stop after single sessions (Hoyt, Michael, 2008).
3) Most studies over the past 40 years have consistently found that the average treated person experiences counseling benefits and is better off than 80% of those without the benefit of treatment (Asay & Lambert, 1999; Wampold, 2001).
4) In a famous analysis of 375 studies on multiple types of therapy treatments, people who completed therapy were better off than 75% of those who did not receive treatment (Smith, Mary & Glass, Gene, 1977).
5) It's important that you and your therapist to discuss the counseling benefits desired and assess your progress within the first 4 or 5 sessions. It was found that ineffective therapists were often simply unaware that they were ineffective (Hiatt & Hargrave, 1995).
Research on medication effectiveness
1) In a mega-analysis done by Thase et al. (1997), it was found that most people with low to moderate levels of depression did not gain anything useful by adding medication to therapy. However, the researchers did find the combination beneficial for the minority of patients who suffered with severe, recurrent bouts of depression.
2) In an 18 month follow up study done on participants of a large efficacy project, it was found that psychotherapies outperformed placebo and medications on almost every outcome measure (Shea et al., 1992). More therapy patients than drug patients recovered without relapse. The medication patients sought treatment more often during the follow up period, had more relapse, and experienced fewer weeks of fewer or no symptoms than the therapy patients.
3) Greenberg and Fisher (1989), put together 11 trials focusing on the idea that combining counseling with medication might provide an increase in benefits. Nine of the trials found that the combination of medication and counseling did not have better results. One of the two trials found that there may be advantages of medication on some short term concerns such as sleep and appetitie, while therapy focused on wider concerns, such as problem solving, apathy, suicidal ideation, etc.
4) Though criticised for having significant flaws in the research design, Keller et al. (2000) showed that therapy and medication combined helped patients with severe depression more than either therapy or medication alone for the short term 12 weeks of the study.
5) In the book The Heroic Client (2004), Duncan, Miller and Sparks shine the light on the flaws of drug research and clear up many myths about the effectiveness of drug treatment.