You're probably aware of the concept of counseling, even if you've never sought therapy before. A counselor helps you set goals and talk through your issues. Whether they're working on an individual or family basis, they aim to teach problem solving and improve quality of life.
But did you know that there have been actual scientific studies done regarding counseling? Researchers have established real links between counseling and certain life improvements. In addition, almost all adults have been shown to benefit from therapy. Even if you don't think you have any problems, therapy is a great way to organize your thoughts.
Here are some key scientific benefits of counseling.
1. Improvement of mood disorders.
Mood disorders are extremely common in the adult population in the US. Scientific research shows that counseling can help improve people's symptoms and moods overall.
One extremely common mood disorder is depression. This illness can cause loss of appetite, sadness, lethargy, excess sleeping, and insomnia. It wreaks havoc on the brain. There are other types of depression as well, like seasonal affective disorder or dysthymia.
Studies have shown that counseling is more effective for treating depression than pharmaceuticals alone. It is also more effective than not having any treatment.
Counseling has been shown to be especially effective for mood disorders when CBT is used. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a technique that was developed to help people identify and challenge their feelings.
In addition, therapy has been proven effective in treating various forms of anxiety. This includes social anxiety, generalized anxiety, and specific phobias. CBT is also the most effective for this, combined with talk therapy and mindfulness.
2. Improvement of OCD.
OCD is considered an anxiety disorder, but it functions differently from average mood disorders. It can also have a significantly more negative impact on a person's life. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven effective for OCD.
Counseling has been effective at helping OCD clients talk through their fears. There is also controlled exposure therapy to help clients interact with their fears. Around four in five people show some improvement when they seek counseling for OCD.
3. Improvement of physical health.
You might be surprised to learn how closely mental and physical health are linked. When your mental health is failing, it takes a physical toll. Physical illness also has a negative impact on a person's mental health.
Psychological treatment has been proven to lower a person's overall physical health bills. If you have a counselor that you trust, you're less likely to suffer chronic physical conditions.
A study from 1999 estimates that counseling could reduce the cost of physical care by $10 for every dollar spent. That figure is likely even higher today, especially with the high costs of physical healthcare in the US.
Taking care of your mental health is also taking care of your physical health.
4. Learning coping skills.
When you see a counselor, you'll do more than just talk. The two of you will discuss your goals and create a treatment plan. You'll be able to process the things bothering you, but you'll also learn coping skills. By applying these coping skills to your life, you'll be able to deal with problems as they arise.
One big goal of counseling is to identify places where you're getting "stuck." Then your counselor can help redirect your impulses into more helpful action. They can also help you learn to identify your own feelings.
Education is a big part of therapy. You're learning to manage your stress on your own. If you have a mental health condition, you're also learning to manage that.
The educational tools can help reduce stigma and normalize asking for help. They also make it easier to stick with your treatment plan. When you understand why you're doing what you're doing, your motivation increases.
Some of the skills you might learn include communication, active listening, mindfulness, and redirecting your behavior.
At Greene Psychology Group, we take your mental health seriously. Our trained counselors can help you identify issues and make a plan to grow. You don't have to feel stuck. Call us today to set up a counseling appointment to move forward with your life.