When people choose psychotherapy, the improvements they make in their lives often result in financial benefits. Therapy becomes a wise use of time and money.
How does therapy can lead to financial benefits?One clear financial benefit comes from reduced medical expenses. Because so many long term health care expenses are a result of stress or untreated mental health conditions, proper mental health treatment greatly lowers the overall cost of health care. Research studies show that medical cost savings are significant. When a large group's medical costs were measured over a period of three to five years after treatment, therapy was shown to lowers overall health care costs. The savings more than paid for the costs of therapy.
Therapy can also improve performance on the job. Employers are becoming increasingly aware that mental health problems increase the number of sick days, interfere with the quality of an employee's work and decrease an employee's productivity. The financial benefits of treatment are significant; some employers have hired employee assistance programs that provide short-term therapy and identify employees who may benefit from longer-term therapy.
Executives and other people now use one form of psychotherapy - coaching - to improve their effectiveness and performance. Moreover, psychotherapy helps many individuals succeed in gaining promotions or become ready to change to a better job.
Problems with relationships and family issues can be very expensive. Divorce, child adjustment problems, or other relationship problems can be very costly. Individual and family therapy can often help in averting these costs.
Is therapy a wise use of your money? Of course, individuals are different and need to decide this for themselves. They can begin by making some educated guesses. Try to estimate the total cost of your therapy. Then compare it to ways your income might increase or other expenses might be reduced as a result of therapy. You can ask your therapist to help by estimating how long it might take to accomplish the kinds of changes that you hope to make in therapy. Use this information to estimate the cost of therapy.
To estimate some of the financial benefits, consider that lowering your stress levels may affect your long-term health care costs. Look at whether the therapy is helping you be a more productive employee or allowing you to earn more money through promotions or a job change. Consider the relationship and family problems you may be improving through therapy and evaluate whether these changes may avert expensive problems.
When you estimate the cost/benefit ratio, remember that your personal changes may yield financial benefits over many years to come, and that the therapy costs are usually spent up front. If you are like most people, as long as there is a need for treatment, you will find that the potential financial benefits probably justify the investment in psychotherapy.
In addition, think about the possible intangible improvements in your quality of life that cannot be measured financially. What is your happiness worth?
Christine Glenn, PhD