The benefits of talk therapy are numerous. The process allows the patient to discuss issues that may be too difficult or painful to discuss with anyone else in the individual's life, and to work through, process, and deal with these issues. Talk therapy also offers the benefit of a "disinterested third party," or a nonjudgmental therapist to listen to the patient's concerns without making assumptions, or making the individual feel uncomfortable. Therapy is often used in conjunction with other forms of treatment for mental illness, such as medication.
Talk therapy is used in many different settings, including individual or group settings. Family therapy is very common, as well as group therapy for people who may be suffering from a similar issue as other people, such as a drug or alcohol addiction. Individual therapy refers to the instance when an individual meets one on one with a therapist to discuss any potential issues that he or she is having. Couples counseling or marital counseling is another type of talk therapy, when a couple who is having relationship troubles will seek the advice of a therapist; in some instances, such as a divorce, this therapy can be mandated by the court at the request of one member of the couple.
Talk therapy can be beneficial for people who are suffering from many different types of mental disorders. Studies have shown that therapy, when used in conjunction with medication, is a more effective treatment for disorders such as depression than just medication alone. This is because medication can treat the symptoms, but may not be able to get to the root of the cause; talk therapy, on the other hand, allows the individual to determine any potential causes or triggers for mental distress.
A talk therapist will also be able to help an individual develop coping mechanisms or techniques for overcoming obstacles in life. For instance, people who are suffering from anxiety might learn the issues that tend to trigger an anxiety attack, and they might then learn how to head off an anxiety attack, or put a stop to it once one starts. A therapist might also be able to teach more effective communication techniques, among others. Some people may only need to attend talk therapy for a few weeks or months until they feel as if they can stop, while others may need to attend for years or the rest of their lives.