Talking therapies - who do they benefit?

Jul 05, 2019

Talking therapies can help many people in different situations, it gives people who are either going through a bad time or have emotional problems to discuss with someone else when they can’t sort them out on their own. Research has shown that talking therapies can work well regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, education or social class.

People sometimes find it easier to talk to a stranger rather than relatives or friends. During talking therapy, a trained therapist listens to you and helps you find your own answers to problems, without judging you. It’s an opportunity to look at your problems in a different way with someone who’ll respect and encourage your opinions and decisions. Talking therapy is usually on a one-to-one basis, however, sometimes they are held in groups or couples (e.g. relationship counselling).

Below are some of the situations where talking therapy can help:

Mental health problems

Talking therapies can help if you have depression, anxiety, eating disorders, phobias or have an addiction. They are often used if you have been diagnosed with a serious mental health condition (including schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) alongside other medicine.

Difficult life events

If you’re going through a sad and upsetting time, talking therapies can help. This could include bereavement, health concerns and job loss amongst many others.

Physical illness

They can also improve your quality of life if you have a lifelong physical illness such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease or stroke. People with long-term health conditions are particularly vulnerable to depression, and talking therapies have been proven to help.


Depression in later life (especially over 65) is often dismissed as a normal part of ageing, however, 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, taking a course of talking therapy could help you to cope.

Relationship problems

Couples therapy can help to save a troubled relationship 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.

Troubled families

Family therapy is talking therapy that involves the whole family. It can be especially helpful for children with depression or a 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 addiction.


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. NICE (the independent body that produces guidance on the effectiveness of medical treatments) recommends talking therapy rather than medicines for children who are depressed. It can also help children with anxiety, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and children who are in physical pain.

Article reproduced with the kind permission of CABA, the organisation providing lifelong support to ICAEW members, ACA students and their close family around the world.