What has been your experience with talk therapy? Did you find it to be an effective solution to your anxiety and depression? Were you a patient for years only to find the effects weren’t sustainable after you quit? Maybe you tried to go, but your insurance would only cover limited sessions and insisted on a diagnosis.
As psychotherapists with decades of experience, we’ve heard a lot of complaints about talk therapy. If we’re honest, those complaints outnumber the amount of sustainable results we’ve seen. We became therapists to heal, but the limitations made it a frustrating and often painful experience.
Thankfully, after years of research, we discovered why talk therapy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And more importantly, we discovered exactly what types of therapies were seeing positive, long-lasting results. That’s exactly what we’re going to share with you in this article.
Talk therapy, as is practiced today, was developed in the 1950s after decades of experiments and trials with psychoanalytic techniques. It was during this time that we moved away from Freudian psychology and into modern behavioral psychology, which combined the cognitive theories developed by Freud and other analysts with behavioral discoveries about animals – hence the name cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
Though each decade has brought more types of therapies into practice, CBT is still the main type of therapy used by most therapists and counselors.
Take that in for a minute – a technique developed in the 1950s, when our concept of human relationships still included segregating races and defined gender roles, is still the main form of therapy practiced today. We’ve evolved as a society since then, so why hasn’t how we manage our behavioral health evolved?
Not only have we evolved as a society, but scientific discoveries have led us to a much greater understanding about the brain. In fact, in the 1950s, we believed the brain simply stopped developing and growing at a certain point. But now we know that the brain is malleable, changeable, adaptable.
We used to believe that the brain could easily be mapped out and that each area served a very specific purpose. If that area of the brain were damaged, we’d lose the ability associated with that purpose forever.
It turns out that is wildly incorrect. Our brains change and adapt to the circumstances around us and different areas of the brain can interchange their patterns and behaviors as necessary. If you damage one part of your brain, in many cases, another area can take over and perform the same function.
When modern talk therapy was developed, we believed that the brain was a static, formed organ that could not create new pathways of learning after a certain time. Now that we know this isn’t true, isn’t it time to create a new form of therapy that gives the brain credit where credit is due?
So, the brain is adaptable, but what does that really mean? Think of it this way – when you were a child, you learned so much about the world in such a short amount of time. You learned a complex language, complex counting system, unspoken social rules, emotional regulation, and on and on. You did all of this so easily because the child’s brain is incredibly neuroplastic.
As you age, your brain does become less plastic only to reserve energy. In other words, you don’t need to constantly learn language because you’ve already learned it, so that area of the brain becomes a little more solid.
But most of your brain is still incredibly changeable. And the most malleable part of your brain? The subconscious. How much of your brain is your subconscious? 95%!
So, why is talk therapy so ineffective? Because it’s working with the conscious mind, the measly 5% that isn’t very malleable and doesn’t really influence your behavior, thoughts, emotions, feelings, perspective, and beliefs – all the elements of you, that when unhealthy, create anxiety and depression.
We’ve known this information about the brain for a few decades. It might be surprising to you, but neuroplasticity was actually discovered in the 1970s. Yet millions of therapists around the world are practicing outdated techniques.
It’s time for a psychotherapy revolution! The amount of time, energy, and money spent on psychotherapy each year is catastrophic when you consider that it’s based on outdated belief systems.
For therapy to be effective, it must work with the subconscious mind. Techniques like hypnotherapy, meditation, and the Emotional Freedom Technique are effective because they were developed with an understanding of how the mind works.
This understanding is also what led us to develop the Soul Happy technique, where we use the conscious and subconscious mind in tandem to create sustainable change. You can learn more about our technique here.