There is a belief that therapy is expensive, however a recent trip to the nail salon left me $90 poorer, but looking good. The hair salon took another $70, and I felt good. Now I don’t do the nail or hair salon weekly, but I know many people who visit both at least once a month and even more frequently. They consider the cost as the price of feeling good and looking good, valuing the experience for these outcomes.
When we think of therapy most people don’t think of it as a luxury. Client’s come to therapy with a pain, and need, a distress. The alleviating of this distress is the hoped for outcome. With that distress decreased or eliminated there is the feeling of relief as they obtain a happier and healthier life style or outlook on life. In other words they feel good.
Best practices in therapy suggest that clients are seen weekly, at least initially. They can then be transitioned to bi weekly, or monthly as the client makes progress in their goals. That initial 4 to 6 weeks of counseling can seem very costly if a client is paying privately. However unlike hair and nails which will need to be maintained indefinitely, you can be discharged from therapy. By the time of discharge you leave with tools that allow you to better handle your emotions and be in a better place.
The investment in your emotional health yields long term benefits for you and those you care about. It has the residual benefits of allowing you to engage in activities that support your happiness in other areas of your life, be they relational or vocational.
So the next time you think about how expensive therapy is think about how much is spent on other personal pursuits that at best give a temporary boost of dopamine. With therapy you are able to access your good feelings for a longer period of time without having to return monthly (unless you want to) to the therapist.
At the heart of therapy is the ability to connect with someone who you trust and who will teach you tools to handle the things in your life that are distressing you.
If you are wondering about the cost of therapy, consider the cost of not having it as you make your decision.