Mental Health Therapy Benefits
Mental health therapy benefits are numerous. It's an unfortunate fact of life that mental health distresses and disorders (examples of mental illness) happen and can negatively impact lives. This is countered by more pleasant facts: many types of mental health treatments exist, and mental health therapy works. It allows people to live life well and fully. With proper therapy, people living with mental health disorders can function well in relationships, at home, and out and about in the world. (How To Tell If A Mental Health Treatment Really Works)
The word therapy is a broad term. Here, it refers to any process or technique that modifies/improves someone's thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. It can involve various types of mental health counseling as well as mental health medication. Frequently, mental health therapy involves multiple approaches that all work together to enhance someone's emotional health and wellbeing.
Benefits of Mental Health Therapy
The term therapy can conjure images of what people think of as talk therapy. This is a reasonably accurate depiction, as it often involves meaningful dialogue between professional and client to sort through mental health difficulties and create a path to recovery and wellness. There are specific approaches to mental health therapy, but they share similar benefits:
- decreased problems with daily living
- increased sense of joy and contentment
- repaired and enhanced relationships
- improved functioning at work, often leading to financial stability
- increased activity, reduced social isolation
- fewer doctor visits for physical symptoms
- decreased use of mental health inpatient facilities
- increased quality of life and overall life satisfaction
Other mental health therapies, too, drastically improve wellbeing.
- Mental health medication balances brain chemistry in order to reduce symptoms of mental health disorders. Soothing the brain allows mental health therapy to work even better; indeed, when the brain isn't unbalanced and wreaking havoc on thoughts, feelings, and behavior, it can settle down and work with a mental health therapist to further reduce symptoms and increase functioning. Both counseling and medication change the brain in positive ways, and when paired, they serve to enhance each other.
- Occupational therapy, a treatment approach used with people recovering from mental or physical illness that focuses on rehabilitation through the activities of daily living, benefits people by helping them develop and hone necessary skills to do their daily activities (occupations) and live well.
- Vocational rehabilitation is a set of services that focuses on skills and attitudes needed for the workforce. Its benefits involve someone's ability to return to the workforce (in paid or volunteer positions) after mental health (or other) difficulties have kept them away.
Mental Health Therapy Benefits and Hope
Sometimes when someone struggles with mental health problems, he or she feels overwhelmed and hopeless. Mental health challenges negatively affect the way someone thinks about him or herself and the world, the way someone feels, and the way someone behaves according to those thoughts and feelings. Because mental health problems can be all-encompassing, it can feel impossible to break free from them and return to a life that one desires.
Perhaps this is the biggest mental health therapy benefit of all: a sense of hope. Yes, doctors, therapists, counselors, and the like can engage in many different types of therapy to help someone experiencing mental health distress. But before the effects of mental health medication can kick in, and before the various therapeutic techniques start to take hold, working in collaboration with a mental health professional provides a powerful sense of hope. Dr. Lloyd Sederer (2013) captured it well when he wrote,
"When there is hope, there is reason to participate in treatment, to learn to manage disease, and to reach for life when faced with setbacks. People who are in recovery take greater responsibility for themselves and insist on dignity and opportunity." (p. 481)
The benefits of mental health therapy are quite meaningful to the quality life that is available to everyone.
Last Updated: 20 May 2018
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD