Every month in Cornwall, just under 1,500 people are referred (or refer themselves) to NHS funded psychological therapy services. These are people who may feel they are struggling with low mood, are overly anxious or just generally ‘stressed out’.
So, what happens in therapy? There are a number of stages. Actually the first stage – choosing to seek help - appears to be the hardest one of the lot. We know that around half of all people with problems do not make this choice. For many it is purely and simply a case of embarrassment – the prospect of having to talk to a stranger is never easy. Others choose to ‘soldier on’ in the hope that their problems will eventually sort themselves out.
Those who do pluck up the courage to see a therapist often find that it is a lot easier than they anticipated. They spend the first session talking about what is going on in their life and how it is affecting them. Being able to talk is not only a great relief in itself, but also allows the person and the therapist a chance to make sense of what is happening, and what may be keeping the problem going. Most importantly, the therapist may then suggest some helpful strategies that the person can follow to make things better.
Does therapy work? According to Outlook South West’s data, about 66% of people finishing therapy see ‘significant improvement’ on a number of measures of anxiety and depression, with 93% of people saying they got the help that mattered to them (“all” or “most of the time”).
So overall, therapy does appear to work for many people. However, there is still room for improvement and the search for more effective therapies is still underway.
For NHS funded therapy for stress, anxiety or depression, phone (01208) 871905 or register online [HERE]