How Effective is “Talk Therapy” and Counseling For Mental Health Problems?

Although research comparing various types of psychotherapy is very complicated and fraught with problems – due to a variety of reasons and inherent challenges – one thing is clear: psychotherapy works. In treating anxiety and depression, research shows that talk therapy is far better than no treatment at all. It’s also usually equally effective as treatment with medications alone – and sometimes even better and longer lasting.

Man talking with a psychologist or counselor getting help with effective psychotherapy or counselingThis is very good news, especially for men who are concerned about the side-effects of medications – not the least of which is erectile dysfunction associated with many antidepressants.

For some men, “therapy” is a scary word. If that’s the case, think of talk therapy as consultation or coaching. The fact is, everyone needs a good coach or teammate sometimes.

In terms of talk therapy with trained mental health professionals, there’s more good news about what’s effective: it’s not about the type of therapy a therapist provides, but the relationship the therapist has with you. In other words, you want to feel comfortable talking with your therapist.

Research shows that the person who provides the talk therapy is a much better predictor of you being effectively helped than the kind of treatment approach that’s provided. So, you don’t necessarily have to try to figure out which type of therapy is going to be best for you. The important thing is that you feel helped. If you don’t think the help you’re getting is effective, then it’s important to let your therapist know – and the therapist should be responsive to your concerns.

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