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Talk Therapy: Does Talking to a Therapist Actually Help?

smiling woman in talk therapy

Does the term talk therapy bring up visions of someone laying on a couch, chatting about their problems? Have you considered it, only to back out, as you’re not sure it would even help?

Let's start with a few things that it isn't. Talk therapy isn't just coming in to chat about your day. It usually doesn't involve laying on a couch (unless of course, you want to, then by all means). And it's also not about coming to someone for advice.

Therapy does involve talking as a means of discovering the root of your challenges, gaining self-awareness, and learning tools to get to a place of healing.

The ultimate goal of therapy is to get to the source of your pain. By finding the source of the issues, introducing tools and providing ongoing support, therapy definitely impacts the way that you show up in your life (in a really good way).

And if you're wondering how all that happens by simply talking to someone, lean in.

Because while it's true that the foundation of the therapeutic process is talk–it's really about so much more.

Here are some key things to remember if you're wondering if talking to a therapist can actually help you.

Talk therapy: it's about more than talking

It's absolutely true that you are going to have to talk to your therapist. The basis of most therapy always includes talking. But the dialogue that takes place in a therapy setting is so much more than just a simple conversation. Therapists are trained to hold space for you, using both verbal and non-verbal communication to build a holistic picture of your life and your current challenges. It's in hearing you tell your story that a therapist can use their training to help you tap in and listen to your inner knowing (that place we sometimes try to drown out).

In fact, these conversations are a way of building a therapeutic relationship. And if you're feeling some anxiety? It's totally normal. It isn't always easy to open up to someone right away. But if it's a good fit, you'll find that the sessions become something that you even (gasp) start to look forward to. By sharing in an environment where you feel safe enough to discuss your inner life, your past and your current struggles, you're setting the foundation for a therapeutic relationship that can really serve you.

Find a Therapist That's Right for You

I always encourage people to make sure that their therapist is a good fit.

A few quick tips:

  • check-in with yourself and ask if you feel safe and connected enough to share what's really going on.

  • Ask about their specific approach to therapy.

  • After a few sessions, you should be able to assess whether you're making positive progress. (Bearing in mind that more complex cases can start to feel more challenging before they improve.) If you’re still feeling stuck, it might be time to consider whether it’s a good fit.

One way to test the waters before you jump in is by finding a therapist that offers a free consultation. These are great opportunities to see if you’re a good match before you make a deeper investment.