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Does Mental Health Therapy Work?

Does therapy really work? Is it worth the time and investment?

Mental health therapy uses a variety of approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoanalysis, interpersonal therapy, and many more. Each approach has different techniques and tools that work together to help individuals understand their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors better; and to develop coping strategies to manage challenges effectively.

Scientific studies have found therapy to be effective in treating various mental health conditions. Hofmann et al. (2012) found that CBT is effective in treating depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, and more. Butler et al. (2006) found that therapy significantly reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, with effects lasting beyond treatment termination. Smith et al. (2018), shared that participants described how therapy helped them gain insight into their emotions, improve their relationships, and develop effective coping mechanisms for managing stressors.

Even with all it’s benefits, it's important to acknowledge that it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Finding the right therapist, establishing a therapeutic relationship, and actively engaging in the process are crucial factors that influence the effectiveness of therapy (Norcross & Lambert, 2018). Other factors to consider that may post as barriers to accessing mental health therapy include cultural alignment, socioeconomic status, and access to resources (Sue et al., 2016).

Mental health therapy does work, but its effectiveness depends on various factors, including the type of therapy, the individual's needs, and the quality of the therapeutic relationship. If you're considering therapy, don't hesitate to reach out and explore the possibilities—it could be the first step towards a happier and healthier life.



  • Butler, A. C., Chapman, J. E., Forman, E. M., & Beck, A. T. (2006). The empirical status of cognitive-behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Clinical Psychology Review, 26(1), 17-31.

  • Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., Vonk, I. J., Sawyer, A. T., & Fang, A. (2012). The efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(5), 427-440.

  • Norcross, J. C., & Lambert, M. J. (2018). Psychotherapy relationships that work III. Psychotherapy, 55(4), 303-315.

  • Smith, J. A., Flowers, P., & Larkin, M. (2009). Interpretative phenomenological analysis: Theory, method and research. Sage.

  • Sue, S., Cheng, J. K. Y., Saad, C. S., & Chu, J. P. (2012). Asian American mental health: A call to action. American Psychologist, 67(7), 532-544.


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