Understanding why speaking about emotions, thoughts, and experiences can help heal and lead to improved mental health. Both personally and professionally I get asked the question, “What will talking about my feelings do for me?” So I sat down and compiled a list of reasons why simple talk therapy can be helpful. 

Talk therapy provides an opportunity to choose your words and describe your experiences.

When we keep our thoughts and feelings inside, we don’t have the chance to choose how to express them. What words to use, how to explain them, and how to connect them to our experiences. Talk therapy provides a safe space to do just that and therefore leads to deeper processing.

Hearing your emotions and experiences in your own words in your voice is powerful

Saying out loud the emotion or thought that you’ve been avoiding is a powerful experience and an incredible healing one as well. Once you put words and volume to that emotion or thought, you have the opportunity to listen to it. You can sit with the reality of how that impacts you and your mental health. This provides a deeper perspective that cannot be achieved by keeping it all inside.

Talk therapy provides space to relate differently to your story

If a therapist asks “Tell me about your childhood” that is an opportunity for you to decide where to begin. You can decide what information to include, what emotions to share, and what impact to focus on. It is a story that you choose exactly how to tell. Therefore you may find that you relate differently to it. If you had told the story of your childhood 5 years prior to a different therapist, it would likely be different than the current story. This shows the development and growth of your perspective of your own life journey.

Verbalizing emotions, thoughts, and experiences helps to deepen your understanding

Voicing your emotions and thoughts is almost like putting pieces of a puzzle together, you have to see all the pieces in front of you before you can begin to make sense of the picture. 

Sharing deepens connections and relationships

The relationship between therapist and client is the perfect practice space for the client to be vulnerable and build trust in another person. From there, that same client can bring that vulnerability into their personal life with the knowledge that it will deepen their relationships and form a supportive community. 

This list is just a starting point when considering the usefulness of therapy. Specific interventions, theories and treatment modalities provide a lot of value when they are tailored towards the client’s needs, and that is all in addition to the benefits listed above. 

Article by Nicole Bentley, LCSW

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