There's no getting around it. Therapy, like a personal trainer or healthy diet, is a financial investment.
When you're working hard to earn your income, and likely already spending a majority of your income on things like high rent and coffee costs in NYC, taking the leap to invest in therapy can feel like a financial risk. At first.
The experience of a positive therapeutic relationship is unlike any other. Sometimes, it takes a few weeks to feel grounded and seen. Other times, after just one session, the catharsis of having a space to unpack and connect sends a rush of endorphins to your brain, improving your day right away.
Inevitably, over time, the benefits of therapy far outweigh its cost. If you're not going to invest in yourself, what are you going to invest in?
To paint a more objective illustration of how therapy can help your mind and your wallet, here are three ways psychotherapy can literally save you money over time.
Research on productivity in the workplace found depression can lead to absenteeism, lower productivity, and higher healthcare costs if the worker’s symptoms go untreated. Some savvy workplaces invest in specialized cognitive-behavioral treatments and brief and longer-term psychodynamic interventions, but most do not provide important stress-management-specific services to their employees. Instead, most employee assistant programs (EAPs) focus on physical health, despite physical and mental health being undoubtedly connected.
Often, EAP programs connect you to insurance, which provides you a list of therapists who are not necessarily available, accepting new clients, or actively accepting that insurance. Sound familiar? Employees often have to call 10-15 therapists from their EAP list before receiving a call back.
Connecting with a therapist and devoting time to weekly therapy reduces symptoms of anxiety, depression, chronic stress, insomnia, eating disorders, relationship conflicts, and more. Moreover, going to therapy as a preventative is even more successful in preventing these symptoms from surfacing and disrupting your routine and goals. Finding a therapist through a service like My Wellbeing saves you time and emotional stress in your search, empowering you to regain control of your workday and rediscover the best version of yourself.
One meta-analysis (academic-speak for one research study that distills the results from many past research studies on the same topic) found psychotherapy reduces the use of other medical services by up to 181%. Cha-ching.
The vast majority of the studies reviewed show a decrease in the need for physical healthcare after mental healthcare has been obtained. This might feel intuitive to you, if you’ve ever capped off a particularly stressful week by developing a head cold that keeps you in bed all weekend. Now imagine how much better you'd feel not having to use the last two of your PTO days visiting the doctor last-minute and watching re-runs in bed.
Therapy can be a place where you start working towards goals. Many people seek therapy to cut back on substance use, quit smoking cigarettes, or develop healthy eating and exercise habits.
Take smoking, for example. Vape Daily outlines in New York, the average smoker will spend over $5,000 per year on cigarettes. Plus, the average medical cost per pack of cigarettes in the U.S. is $5.31. That's an extra $2,000 if you smoke a pack per day and a drastic increase in the risk of premature death. Moreover, the average smoker earns 8% less than a non-smoker of the same background. For the average hourly wage (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) of $25, that can mean a monthly loss of $275, and a loss of $3,306 every year.
A similar exercise could be done with coping mechanisms like drinking, shopping, gambling, sex, and more. You'll find that therapy not only reduces unhealthy behaviors, which cost you in immediate purchasing dollars and long-term healthcare costs, but increases your ability to cope in healthy ways, and invest in the goals and relationship dynamics you really want.
If you feel like you’re in a rut, it can sometimes feel like these tempting habits are all you have. By working through the thought patterns that draw you back into these habits instead, a skilled therapist can help you break free and live life on your own terms.
Alyssa Petersel, Co-Founder and CEO of My Wellbeing and author of Somehow I Am Different, graduated from Northwestern University in 2013 with dual BA degrees in psychology and international studies, graduated summa cum laude from New York University in May 2017 with her Master's in Social Work, and graduated from The Writer's Institute non-fiction program at CUNY Graduate Center in May 2017. A native New Yorker, Alyssa now lives in Brooklyn and enjoys running, coffee, community, and social justice.