Talk therapy can offer you many benefits — like opportunities to develop coping skills and address unhelpful thoughts or behaviors.

Therapy is an effective way to help manage your mental health. People participate in psychotherapy — also called “talk therapy” — if they’re trying to deal with new or unexpected challenges in their life and chronic or long-standing issues.

Talk therapy can also be an essential part of treatment for mental health conditions.

Different types of therapy can offer different approaches to understanding human behavior, thought, and emotion, depending on your original intent.

You may have your own unique needs and goals for talk therapy. When you visit a therapist, they will work with you to find the best approach for you.

Because of the potential benefits of talk therapy, many people find their mental health may improve, and they gain techniques to use in their daily life even after they stop going to therapy.

There are several reasons people go to therapy. It can help you through a tough time, such as illness, job stress, or relationship challenges.

Some people also seek psychotherapy as part of treatment for mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or substance use disorder (SUD).

Children and adults may attend talk therapy and benefit. Talk therapy can help someone address issues like:

  • mental health diagnoses
  • challenging life events like divorce, major illness, or loss of a loved one
  • coping with long-term illness of self or a loved one
  • sexual or physical abuse
  • experiences of racism or discrimination
  • relationship issues, either alone or as a couple
  • family dynamics

Someone may also seek therapy if they simply know they need help or support but aren’t sure what to do.

A mental health provider may provide direction toward the right therapy for you.

There are many kinds of talk therapy. These therapy disciplines are tailored to a person’s specific needs and reasons for entering therapy.

Some therapists may choose to mix aspects of kinds of psychotherapy.

Consider these types of talk therapy:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to help a person change thoughts and behaviors that are not working. CBT helps someone to live in the world by developing more effective and helpful thoughts and behaviors.
  • Interpersonal therapy helps people see relationships issues that may affect how one interacts with others. These may include grief, changes in work roles, and conflict at home. Treatment of depression is often one goal of interpersonal therapy.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy is a type of CBT. It focuses on regulating emotions. People with eating disorders, PTSD, or borderline personality disorder may all benefit from this kind of treatment.
  • Psychodynamic therapy focuses on childhood experiences and unconscious thoughts that may affect a person today. Through psychodynamic therapy, you can become more self-aware and change harmful patterns of thought and behavior. Psychoanalysis can be considered a more intensive form of psychodynamic therapy.
  • Supportive therapy helps you to develop mechanisms to support your own mental health, which in turn may improve the rest of your life. With guidance, people often experience improved self-esteem, better coping skills, and reduced anxiety.

When you are looking to connect with a therapist, you may want to learn more about the kind of therapy they typically use.

Psychotherapy has a long and interesting history. You’ll find that it may take some time to find the type that suits your needs.

Therapy can help you develop skills and strategies to improve your well-being.

There are many good reasons for therapy and ways it may help you, such as:

  • having a better understanding of your mental health
  • developing wellness goals
  • identifying triggers that lead to symptoms or unhealthy behaviors
  • improving interpersonal relationships
  • coping with stress
  • creating a personal plan for a mental health crisis
  • making sense of past trauma
  • overcoming fears
  • creating routine and stability

Talk therapy works a bit differently for everyone. Most people who participate in psychotherapy experience some benefit from the process, both in the short and long term.

Yes, talk therapy can help you in the short term. It can also have a lasting effect on your life, whether or not you continue to see a therapist.

If you commit to therapy for a few months and open up to your therapist, you may find these sessions can benefit you for the rest of your life.

Coping mechanisms

Psychotherapy often helps you develop your ability to solve problems. It offers practical and supportive ways to manage stress and other difficult parts of your everyday life.

These coping skills can be helpful throughout your life, even when you are no longer attending therapy.

Support systems

Talk therapy can help someone with thoughts of self-harm to create a safety plan.

While instances of self-harm or suicidal ideation may be treated as potential emergencies, therapy could help you develop a plan of action that involves support from family and friends in a crisis.

These strategies can stay with you even if you stop seeing a therapist.

Reducing symptoms

Research gives evidence that talk therapy improves mental health over the long term.

A 2016 study of people with mood or anxiety conditions found that at a 10-year follow-up, attending therapy longer may result in better outcomes.

In the study, people who went to long-term psychotherapy had greater symptom improvement and improved workability than those who attended short-term therapy.

However, the study found that both short-term and long-term therapy offered lasting results.

New insights

Talk therapy may help you address how specific thought patterns may cause you harm, such as when one holds a low opinion of themselves. Therapy can help someone identify such thoughts as inaccurate and develop behaviors based on a more positive, realistic life outlook.

Improvements in your health

According to the American Psychological Association, 75% of people who participate in talk therapy get some benefit.

When therapy ends, individuals who received therapy found that their mental health symptoms improved by 80% more than those who did not receive therapy.

Talk therapy is an established part of mental health treatment. People attend psychotherapy for many varied reasons, including navigating challenging life events, seeking treatment for mental health diagnoses, and looking to develop better coping skills.

There are many types of psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and supportive therapy. A therapist may recommend using one or a mixture of these types according to the person’s individual goals.

Talk therapy may provide you with long-term benefits, including reducing symptoms of mental health conditions. It can also provide you with skills even when therapy is over.

Most people who attend therapy receive some benefit. You can find a therapist you trust and can feel comfortable talking with. In addition, you can find affordable therapy options that may suit your budget.

You can learn here about ways to find a therapist.