According to a new large-scale review of therapy effectiveness research studies conducted by the American Psychological Association, the effectiveness of psychotherapy is very real. The impacts of psychotherapy are positive both on the psyche and on the body. In addition to easing emotional distress, psychotherapy helps reduce the need for physical health services and produces long-term physical as well as emotional health improvements.
1. Research demonstrates that psychotherapy is effective for a variety of mental and behavioral health issues and across a spectrum of population groups.
2. The average effects of psychotherapy are larger than the effects produced by medications for reducing negative emotional states like anxiety, anger, and depression.
3. Grouping together many studies to analyze their overall findings, the large overview study found that psychotherapy reduces physical and emotional disability, death rates and psychiatric hospitalizations.
4. Psychotherapy also leads to improved functioning at work.
5: Psychotherapy teaches life skills that last far beyond the course of treatment. Individual psychotherapy can teach skills ways of thinking that reduce vulnerability to depression, anger, fears and anxiety. Couple therapy teaches skills for better communication, conflict resolution and anger management—skills that significantly improve the quality of marriages and prevent divorces. Family therapy teaches skills for becoming a better parent, in turn helping children to grow into happier and healthier adults.
6. The results of psychotherapy tend to last longer than drug treatments.
7. Unlike drug treatments, psychotherapy rarely produces harmful side effects such as the weight gain, lowered sex drive, emotional agitation, fuzzy-headedness or other potential side effects of psychological medications.
8. While medication is appropriate in some instances, research shows that in general the effects produced by psychotherapy are comparable or better than the effects produced by drug treatments for the same disorders.