When weighing up the cost of therapy, you may find your mouse hesitating to click on the ‘get in touch’ button. You start doing the mental maths of how much it’s going to add up to per month. Then you start thinking about the things you’ll have to go without. Or, you think about all the things you could buy with the money instead. You focus on the monetary cost of therapy and try to decide if it is good value. When making your decision, here are some additional points to consider:
1. Therapy costs less than divorce
Let’s say I want therapy to stop my marriage from falling apart. My partner has requested I work on anger issues which are creating a tense atmosphere at home. Everyone walks on eggshells around me. The potential cost of not doing therapy is the end of my marriage. This would mean a huge amount of emotional pain and suffering. It might also lead to a costly divorce in which we would both stand to lose the family home. If one year’s worth of therapy works out at around £3000, this is considerably cheaper than the cost of divorce which includes solicitors’ fees and loss of income. Not to mention the heart ache and pain.
2. Therapy leads to more meaningful and better paid jobs
A recent survey showed that a course of therapy leads to an increase in earning. Economists studied data from 2943 men and 5064 women between 1995-2008 to establish the effect of psychotherapy on mental health and income. For men, their income increased by 13%. For women it increased by 8%. If an individual earns £35k and does a year of therapy, they could increase their income to £39,550 which would be 1.5k more than they spent on the therapy.
Why does therapy increase income? Therapy has the means to permanently shift our life onto a higher plane long after the thrill of the new car or tropical holiday fades. If you look back over the last five years at the patterns and habits you have wanted to change, how much have they really changed? For most of us, our everyday busy-ness means we don’t find the time. Or when we’ve got the time, we don’t have the motivation or the discipline to make changes. Months and years can go by like this. Deciding to pay for therapy is securing one hour a week where we can empty out the thoughts going around in our heads, identify what matters and make headway with making those things happen.
Lucia (client’s name and identity has been changed) is an intelligent and talented woman who was doing boring and repetitive work when she first came to therapy. In sessions we explored her interests and what she valued. She became aware of the critical and doubting voices that held her back from pursuing these. In some sessions she experimented with giving voice to more confident parts of her. By the end of the therapy she had found a meaningful career and had doubled her income. She had become more confident and able to speak up and be heard. She also felt more able to handle challenging exchanges and to delegate. In short, she became more employable.
3. Therapy gives you more quality time
We might postpone therapy because we are too busy. But we are too busy doing what exactly? Are we working in a meaningful job where there is a good work/life balance or flogging ourselves to death in a job where we feel devalued and underpaid? Do we come home at night fretting about what our colleagues think of us or whether our boss thinks we are any good? Do we repeat unhelpful relational patterns with colleagues? If so, then does it make sense to prioritise work over therapy? As the well know adage says, if we keep on doing the same old things, we can’t expect anything to change’.
In therapy we create a space to think about our work needs. We explore the activities that feel valuable and meaningful to us. We gain insights into relationships with colleagues and superiors. We learn what we can do differently to make work more enjoyable. We are more able to set healthy boundaries and as a result work is less time-consuming.
Therapy can make us richer not just in monetary terms but more importantly in terms of emotional satisfaction. It leads to improved relationships and finding life more meaningful. Does that mean it’s worth it? That depends on whether you are happy with your life as it is. Are you fulfilled in your profession? Are you in a satisfying relationship or do you keep on repeating the same old patterns? Do you have kind and caring inner talk and practice self-care activities? Do you feel some excitement and joy in your life? Do you regularly make time for fun activities? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘’no’ then therapy can help you with that.
4. Therapy makes you a better partner and parent
I think we can all agree that a happy parent leads to a happy child. A happier parent is one who is in touch with their emotions and able to identify and communicate their needs in an assertive but non-aggressive way to others. A happier parent is one who has worked through any of their own childhood issues that impact on their parenting. A happier parent is one who is able to create enough boundaries so that they have some space in their week where they can pursue interests that are meaningful and fun to them, not necessarily linked to family life. In the same way a happier partner leads to a happier relationship.
Therapy can help us to become more satisfied with our lives. Not necessarily ‘happy’ as this is a temporary and episodic state. However, through therapy we can redress the sources of our unhappiness such as anxiety, depression, poor work/life balance. We do this by becoming more aware of our feelings, our bodies, our needs and our wants. We find ways to articulate these and make changes either actual or through changing our perspective.
So, what are you waiting for? I look forward to welcoming you on the couch ;)