Talk therapy isn’t as effective as thought


Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






By Caroline Loveland
Contributing Writer

Up until this past month, it has been believed that talk therapy is a strongly effective form of treatment for depression. Talk therapy, more formally known as “psychotherapy,” is a method of treatment where an individual talks about their mental and emotional state with a mental health professional.

Woman in a talk therapy session

(Photo from Shutterstock.com)

In the past, research has provided evidence that through discussing such problems, the individual can learn more about their condition, and subsequently the therapy allows the individual to figure out efficient coping strategies. Millions of Americans receive this form of therapy each year in hopes of improving how they are feeling.

However, talk therapy has recently been shown to be less or as effective at treating depression as other forms of therapy, such as antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy.

According to a study recently published in the research journal, PLOS ONE, researchers have found that talk therapy is roughly 25 percent less effective than originally thought. While this finding doesn’t necessarily mean that talk therapy is ineffective, it is a significant decrease in the perceived effectiveness.

The researchers have concluded that the previous beliefs regarding talk therapy were likely exaggerated due to publication bias. In other words, the results of the previous findings were presented in favor of talk therapy as a highly effective form of treatment.

The recent findings may influence more people struggling with depression to turn to antidepressants for treatment. Nonetheless, the findings indicate that talk therapy still helps those with depression; it is just not as effective as people originally believed, and likely hoped, it to be.

If anything, such findings put both forms of treatment on a more level playing field. Regardless of what the findings show, it is important to remember that not all forms of treatment work the same way for everyone, and sometimes receiving multiple forms of treatment can be most beneficial.

Those struggling with depression should take the time to figure out which method or combination works best for them.