Does Psychotherapy Really Help?

Although most people have seen therapy on TV or in the movies, there is a lack of general information in the public about what psychotherapy is, how it helps, and if it really works.

What is psychotherapy? It is a collaborative process where an individual can consult confidentially about a situation, problem, relationship, family issue, or habit you want to change. It is a positive step towards making change when you are concerned or confused about what to do. You should think of it as an educational or growth-oriented experience, with clear goals set at the beginning and monitored as you progress. Therapy is not a passive process where someone "fixes" you or tells you what to do.

How does it help? When you feel as if you cannot tackle a problem alone and the problem is not getting any better, a psychotherapist acts as a consultant to explore options and choices in a safe and supportive environment. Therapists help the client learn how to changes attitudes and behaviors and to generalize knowledge and skills learned in therapy to everyday life.

Does it really work? According to Consumer Reports magazine (November, 1995) it does! Consumer reports conducted the largest ever survey done on the effectiveness of mental health care and found "convincing evidence that therapy can make an important difference." Over 4,000 people participated in this exhaustive, impartial study. Why did an objective consumer magazine tackle the issue of mental health? According to their statistics over 50 million Americans suffer from a mental or addictive disorder at any given point in time. Less than one-third of these people seek any kind of help. What were the results?

  1. Therapy eased the problems that brought them into treatment.
  2. Therapy helped them to function better - improving relationships with others, productivity and dealing with everyday stress.
  3. Therapy enhanced personal growth.


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