5 Time-Tested Benefits of Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy has been used for well over a century as a tool to improve a person’s mental health. By the end of the 19th century, Sigmund Freud was using the “talking cure” to help his patients better understand their own minds. Though the field of psychology has become much more sophisticated since its beginnings, countless individuals continue to reap the benefits of psychotherapy.
Research shows that therapy is at least as effective as medication when treating conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. The benefits of psychotherapy range from discovering healthier ways to communicate to dramatically improving one’s quality of life.
Recognizing Your Own Thought Patterns
Think of your mental processes as if they are the powerful currents of a river. They are constantly in motion, and they can easily carry you forward with no deliberation on your part. A person can become so consumed by their thoughts that they act unconsciously, never taking the time to consider how their thinking is guiding them to do what they do. Without looking at your thoughts objectively, you are subject to mood swings and impulsive behaviors.
In talk therapy, you can rely on your therapist to help you identify certain thought patterns and how they inform your decisions and actions. Being able to recognize recurring patterns gives you a powerful tool to slow down and stop acting impulsively, especially in ways that are destructive to your health and relationships.
Discovering Your “Blind Spots”
In the 1950s, psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham developed a technique to help patients better understand their own mental processes. The “Johari window” is essentially an exercise in which people select several adjectives and categorize them into one of four categories – things known by yourself and others, things known by others but not yourself, things known by yourself but not by others, and things known by neither yourself or others.
This quadrant allows people to put their own personality traits in perspective and recognize blind spots in their thinking. Though your therapist likely won’t ask you to use the Johari window directly, the technique illustrates what one accomplishes through psychotherapy. Essentially, you have behaviors and thoughts that you aren’t even aware of, and your therapist will help you discover things about yourself that you never could have understood on your own.
Articulating Concerns That You’ve Never Spoken Aloud
Have you ever spoken something out loud that surprised you? Maybe you expressed how you felt or offered an opinion that seemed to come from an unconscious part of your brain. Maybe you have concerns that you would never express to your loved ones. People are rarely in situations where they are permitted to say anything they’d like without fear of judgment or repercussions. When you allow yourself to be unconstrained, you might be surprised at what you discover.
Talking through your thoughts with a psychotherapist allows you to voice concerns that you might not even realize you have. This not only provides insight into how you’re feeling, but it encourages you to articulate your emotions in constructive ways.
Having a Space Where You Can Be Vulnerable
One of the main benefits of psychotherapy is having a place that is your own, one where you’re free to express yourself in ways that are impossible in everyday life. You’ll come to count on the sessions with your therapist as a time in which you can work through the challenges you face in life. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable takes time but, with the right therapist, you can cultivate this skill and implement it in all of your relationships.
Developing Healthier Ways to Communicate
In psychotherapy, you learn to communicate what you’re really thinking and feeling instead of instinctively acting on your impulses. Talking with your therapist creates a distance between a stimulus and your reaction to it.
For example, if someone says something hurtful, you might have an instinct to react without considering the implications of your words. Therapy widens the space in which you can consider why you’re reacting the way you do, and how to communicate the way you feel in more constructive ways.
If you’ve noticed a theme in the benefits listed above, you can see that psychotherapy gives you perspective and allows insights that would otherwise be incredibly difficult to achieve. It also promotes healthier forms of communication and improves your ability to connect with others.
People often find that therapy makes them more deliberate, self-aware and patient. It is also an effective way to manage depression, anxiety and co-occurring substance use disorders.
Contact R&A Therapeutic Partners to Learn More About the Benefits of Psychotherapy
At R&A Therapeutic
Partners, we witness the benefits of psychotherapy every day. The time we spend
with our clients continues to speak volumes about our field, and we’re proud to
be able to help people find tools that help them live happier, more
If you’d like to speak with Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno to find out more about the benefits of psychotherapy, we encourage you to contact R&A Therapeutic Partners today.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.