Study Makes Strong Financial Case for Psychotherapy

Numerous studies have been conducted in the past which provide evidence for the efficacy of psychotherapy in improving clients’ quality of life, but many prospective clients and critics may cite the long-term costs of psychotherapy as reason to turn to other methods of seeking happiness. Such ideas have been soundly challenged, however, by a recent study produced by researchers at the Universities of Warwick and Manchester, which boldly suggests that psychotherapy may be thirty two times as effective for boosting well-being than receiving a financial windfall. Money woes are often cited as contributing to symptoms of depression and anxiety, and few would propose that experiencing a tight budget, unexpected cost, or period of debt is of no consequence for personal outlook. But receiving money, the study suggests, is only able to increase self-reported happiness in minuscule amounts.

The researchers worked with participants who completed responses on their own self-measured levels of well-being. Some participants were given a four-month course of psychotherapy, and data was collected after the therapy was completed. The change in well-being was compared to self-reports from those who were given financial boosts, such as pay raises. The study found that the increase in well-being from an £800 psychotherapy course was equivalent to a pay raise increase of £25,000, making the psychotherapy thirty two times as powerful as financial windfall.

As efforts to cut state spending turn towards hampering mental health services, the study shows that focusing on providing a wealth of quality mental health care may be far superior than providing simple financial incentives. Just as leading developing nations have not experienced a widespread rise in mental health despite economic growth, suggest the researchers, concentrating on economic stimulus may not provide the answers to helping Americans –and people around the world– feel better about themselves and their lives.

© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • vicki

    vicki

    November 27th, 2009 at 10:47 AM

    Its like comparing giving a man fish to eat and teaching him how to catch fish! Financial aid lasts for a limited amount of time but help from therapy is bound to increase the overall quality of life of the person and also prepares him/her for he future.

  • MINOR

    MINOR

    November 27th, 2009 at 10:54 AM

    Well I think it depends on the person and the results will definitely vary from person to person. Also, various other parameters come into play, like – the amount of money, the financial condition of the person, amongst other things.

  • Olivia

    Olivia

    November 27th, 2009 at 1:24 PM

    I will willingly give up going out to eat, but never my therapist! :-)

  • Darlita

    Darlita

    November 27th, 2009 at 2:55 PM

    Well i have to agree with Minor here… there would be innumerable factors contributing to the response of the people involved in the study. But I also understand and resent to the feeling that getting rid of a problem is much more satisfying than being given money.

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