Is therapy worth it? Here's what the data says.
We get it. Therapy can be really expensive, with some therapists even charging upwards of $200 per session. There are a lot of things you can do with that kind of money. Price aside, it can also be really difficult and time consuming to find a good therapist, and that is before you consider the pains of dealing with the insurance process if you decide to go down that route. It's very normal to be hesitant of trying therapy when you think about the costs and time commitment involved with therapy. This is often complicated by the fact that the value of therapy is often intangible.
Can I afford this? Will it even work for me? Is it worth the cost? These are all questions that many people have asked themselves before starting therapy. From our experience, many clients go into therapy nervous about what to expect, but come out of therapy saying that it's the best decision they have ever made and that their mental health and quality of life has never been better.
Everyone seeks therapy for different reasons and is looking to get out of it different outcomes. However, we want to share with you some evidence based facts about why therapy may be worth it for you.
Increase your happiness and improve your mental health
How much would you pay to be happy? It's hard to put a price tag on happiness. There's a reason why "money can't buy happiness" is such a well known saying. Existing research suggests that quality of life does not increase with more money once income level can comfortably support basic needs. However, data suggests that therapy on the other hand, can actually increase your happiness levels. A recent meta-analysis of 393 different studies involving a total of 53,288 different people did show that therapy with a mental health professional had an overall positive impact on their happiness. ACT and CBT therapy in particular showed the most positive effects. Another study revealed that therapy was 32 times more cost-effective at making someone happier than simply obtaining more money. The study proved this with its finding that the increase in well-being from an $800 investment into therapy treatment was so large that it would take a pay rise of over $25,000 to achieve an equivalent increase in well-being. Whether you are struggling with internal feelings, such as anxiety, stress, self-esteem/body image issues, depression or trauma, needing help navigating external conflicts with a partner or family, or just looking to improve your overall quality of life, a therapist will be able to equip you with the skills and tools needed to move forward, overcome your problems and improve your emotional well-being. This is a value of therapy that cannot be expressed in monetary terms.
Neutral party and safe space to share your feelings with
We all know that bottling up your feelings is bad for your mental health. But, did you know that research shows that keeping your emotions to yourself can have such a negative impact on your actual physical health and life expectancy that it increase the chances of a premature death by 30% and developing cancer by 70%?
Unfortunately, not everyone is privileged enough to have a healthy relationship with their family or friends in their life. This is especially true for minorities, such as those who identify as LGBTQ or POC. Even if you are able to share your emotions with those around you, they may not be able to relate, as they do not share your life experiences.
For those who are going through a rough breakup, or having relationship conflicts, it can be hard to rely on your previous safety nets as your social circles have been intermixed. It is very common to feel like you have nobody to talk to because your close ones are now also close with your current or ex-partner.
A therapist can help by providing you a safe space to explore your emotions. As someone from outside your social circle, they can also help you talk through and address your issues by providing new perspectives that you may not have considered or identify problems in your existing relationships that you may have been blind to. Talking to a therapist means not only investing in your mental health, but your physical health as well.
Build stronger, more meaningful relationships
There are many studies (such as this one) that have proven that having strong human connections contributes positively to life satisfaction and mental health. This even applies to work! With the recent pandemic, many of us have felt the effects of social isolation on our mental health. Having meaningful emotional connections with friends, colleagues or loved ones is now more important than ever. The way you view yourself, your upbringing and past experiences all shape the way that you interact with others. A mental health professional can work with you to unpack your past life experiences and analyze your current behaviors and help you build new, healthier mindsets and habits to enable you to improve your sense of self-worth and build stronger and more meaningful connections with the people around you. Going to therapy has been proven to help increase self esteem, strengthen communication skills and improve relationship satisfaction. We believe that anyone looking to improve their professional, personal or romantic relationships can benefit from talking to a therapist and that the value therapy can bring will be well worth the financial cost.
Therapy pays itself back
Therapy is often seen as an investment into your mental health and quality of life, but what if we told you that it could also be a financial investment in and of itself? This study analyzing 13 years of data from 8,000 people found a link between going to therapy and an increase in income! Men who went to therapy made on average 13% more after their therapy, while women made 8% more.
This means that if it costs you $1000 for your therapy sessions, you could easily make more than triple that cost you spent on therapy back in terms of annual income if you were earning $40,000 annually, for example. More importantly, this income increase is one that will compound annually for the rest of your life!
This can easily be explained because mental health and emotional issues, such as anxiety, stress, self-esteem issues or depression, could be holding you back from achieving your full potential at work. There are so many ways in which a good therapist can help you get better outcomes at work, from teaching you how to manage work-life balance and stress so that you can be motivated at work or have fewer sick days, to equipping you with the confidence and communication skills to negotiate a pay raise.
So, is therapy worth it?
Therapy has been proven to be effective at resolving what is negatively affecting your mental health, and can make you happier. A therapist can provide insight that you may not be able to uncover yourself and help you build stronger, and more meaningful relationships with the people around you. It can even help you perform better at work and earn an increase in salary that pays off the cost of therapy. According to the American Psychological Association, research shows that 75% of patients benefit from therapy.
Our answer is that we believe that therapy is worth it if you find a therapist that is a good fit for you and if you are motivated to make it work. From our research, the clients who did not benefit from therapy usually fell under 3 categories.
Often, their therapist was either bad or simply not a good fit for them. There are many types of therapists and it is important that you find a therapist that is a good therapeutic fit and can address your mental health problems. This usually comes down to personal preferences and personalities. Many people start therapy with somebody their friend recommended, or picked from a list of hundreds of therapists and services, only to realize that while they may be good therapists, they were not a good fit for them. This is why a screening call is important.
Frequency of sessions was another reason that clients did not benefit as much from therapy. We generally advise clients to start with going to weekly therapy sessions, and then adjust according to their needs and where they are in the treatment process. Many therapists, especially ones that take insurance, have busy schedules and are unable to have consistent therapy sessions with clients. Clients too, may be too busy to be able to afford attending therapy on a regular basis.
Sometimes, the issue is not with the therapist, but with the person seeking therapy. We always say that you get what you put into therapy. Your therapist will be giving you tips and tools, as well as exercises and "homework" to help you build healthy habits and improve your mental health and emotional well-being. It is up to you to put in the work and get the most out of therapy.
How reflect makes therapy worth it
At reflect, we do our best to make sure that therapy is worth it for our clients. We improve client outcomes by matching them using 55 different data points with a diverse pool of pre-vetted, top therapists. All of our therapists are available to see clients for therapy sessions weekly, with no waitlists. You can have a free intro call with each match, so that you feel confident before making a decision. We also reduce costs by pre-negotiating rates with therapists so that clients only pay a fraction of their cash-pay rates (why don't top therapists take insurance?) and help you with out-of-network insurance reimbursement so that you can save on therapy. We utilize post-session feedback, personalized content and support you through the whole process to make sure that you get the most out of your sessions.
If you are ready to invest in your future and would like us to help you get matched to a therapist that would make therapy worth it for you, click here!