Benefits of psychotherapy:
Although there are no guaranteed outcomes of psychotherapy, there are some commonly identified benefits of participating in both short and long-term therapy. Potential benefits are usually determined by the type of problem and concerns a client presents with as well as the type of treatment goals identified and degree of motivation and follow through a client possesses in his or her treatment. Below is a list of potential benefits, however it is not inclusive of every potential benefit:
Improvement in general mood
Increased self-esteem and confidence
Increased relationship satisfaction
Increased ability to manage stress more effectively
Increased ability to set and achieve realistic goals
Increased ability to manage strong emotional reactions and feelings
Increased ability to trust, feel close to, and communicate your feelings, thoughts, and needs more openly to others
Increased ability to stop engaging in destructive or ineffective behaviors and replacing them with healthy behaviors
Improvement in decision making
Like all treatment modalities, there are potential risks to psychotherapy. Making changes in beliefs or behavior can be daunting and sometimes disruptive to the relationships clients already have established. Participating in therapy may involve some discomfort, including remembering and discussing unpleasant events, feelings and experiences. The process may evoke strong feelings of sadness, anger, fear, etc.
There may be times in which therapy will challenge clients' perceptions and assumptions, and offer different perspectives. The issues presented may result in unintended outcomes, including changes in personal relationships however the client should be aware that any decision on the status of his/her personal relationships is the responsibility of client.
During the therapeutic process, clients may find that they feel worse before they feel better, which is generally a normal course of events. Personal growth and change may be easy and quick at times, but may also be slow and frustrating. It is important to carefully evaluate whether these risks are worth the benefits of changing. Below are potential risks however they are not inclusive of all risks:
Lack of improvement or lack of progress towards treatment goals
Feelings or symptoms may worsen in the beginning of therapy, which are usually temporary
Relationships with others may be impacted
Development of feelings for therapist due to trusting relationship however it is never appropriate for the therapist-client relationship to become social, romantic, emotional, or sexual. If a client develops feelings for the therapist, the therapist will talk with the client about whether finding another therapist may be more appropriate for continuing therapy
Distress when therapy terminates
Clients are strongly encouraged to discuss any fears, concerns, or doubts about his/her progress with his/her therapist, including specific risks and benefits not listed that may be associated with their situation.