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Benefits of Talking Therapy

Research shows that talking therapies work just as well whether you’re old or young, male or female, white or black, gay or straight, working class or middle class. Your educational background makes no difference either.

Talking therapy is for anyone who’s going through a bad time or who has emotional problems they can’t sort out on their own.

You may be able to get talking therapy on the NHS quickly and easily in your area. However, access to services in the UK depends on where you live. There may be a waiting time or you may have to travel for treatment, although the situation is improving. Talking therapy is widely available privately.

Sometimes, it’s easier to talk to a stranger than to relatives or friends. During talking therapy, a trained therapist listens to you and helps you find your own answers to problems, without judging you. The therapist will give you time to talk, cry, shout or just think. It’s an opportunity to look at your problems in a different way with someone who’ll respect and encourage your opinions and decisions.

Usually, you’ll talk one-to-one with the therapist. Sometimes, talking treatments are held in groups or in couples, such as relationship counselling.

Although there are many different types of talking therapy, they all have a similar aim: to make you feel better. Some people say that talking therapies don’t make their problems go away, but they find it easier to cope with them and feel happier. 

Here are some situations where talking therapy may help.

Mental health problems:

Talking therapies can help if you have:

  • depression

  • anxiety

  • an eating disorder

  • a phobia

  • an addiction

They're often used if you’ve been diagnosed with a serious mental health condition, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Talking therapies are commonly used alongside medicines.

Difficult life events:

If you’re going through a sad and upsetting time, talking therapies can help you deal with it. This could be after a relative or friend has died, after finding out you have cancer, if you’re struggling with infertility or if you've lost your job.

Physical illness:

Talking therapies can improve your quality of life if you have a lifelong physical illness, such as:

  • diabetes

  • multiple sclerosis

  • heart disease

  • a stroke

People with long-term health conditions are particularly vulnerable to depression, and talking therapies have been proven to help.


Older people, especially those with depression, are as likely to benefit from talking therapies as everyone else. Depression in later life, especially over the age of 65, is often dismissed as a normal part of ageing. However, this isn't the case and talking therapy can improve your enjoyment of life if you’re feeling low.

Past abuse:

If you’ve been sexually abused or experienced discrimination or racism, you may feel better able to cope with life after a course of talking therapy.

Relationship problems:

Couples therapy can save a relationship that’s in trouble or help you through separation and divorce. Ideally, a couple should go to counselling together, but if your partner refuses to join you, counselling can help you sort out lots of things on your own.


Family therapy is talking therapy that involves the whole family. It can be especially helpful for or a child with depression, behavioural problem, or whose parents are splitting up. It can also help families in which a child or parent has an eating disorder, mental health condition or drug problem.


Talking therapy can help people who find it difficult to keep their anger under control.


Talking therapy works as well for children as it does for adults. Talking therapy is recommended rather than medicines for children who are depressed. It can also help children with anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and children who are in physical pain much of the time.

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