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Does Therapy Work?

What's the Point of Therapy?

There's a regrettably long article in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine in which Daphne Merkin, a woman who's been in and out of psychologists' offices for 40 years, questions the point of the practice.

Therapy definitely makes you more aware, but that awareness doesn't always translate into happiness. It doesn't help that no one can provide a definitive answer to if and when you should stop. Freud said the point of therapy was to convert "hysterical misery" into "common unhappiness," but has anyone ever had too much happiness?

More than half the time, patients and therapists aren't even on the same page. "Patients want answers," Merkin writes, "psychoanalysts ask questions." They're really not even supposed to give advice!

So how do we know we're really getting anything out of it, besides catharsis and the self-congratulations that come with doing everything we can? Is there a point at all?

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