Talk Therapy, Medications, or Both!?

Healing Heart

If you've ever struggled with depression, anxiety, or any of a wide variety of psychological l challenges, you might have wondered what treatment options would best provide you with relief. Struggling with these kinds of difficulties can be a miserable experience, but what might be worse, is not knowing how to find the relief, treatment or support that you seek. Some folks swear by talk therapy and others have found great relief in the form of an anti-depressant, anti-anxiety or other psychotropic medication. So, which treatment option is best? Well, the truth of the matter is that it really does depend on the uniqueness of the individual, the symptoms they're experiencing, as well as their circumstances and other lifestyle intricacies. Let's take a quick look at primary treatment options...

Talk Therapy

Arguably, talk therapy has been around for hundreds of years and has its origins in the form of religion, philosophical inquiry, or simply social support. In this modern era, a great body of growing research empirically validates the effectiveness of various strategies for talk therapy. Research continually demonstrates that therapy can and does help individuals recover from a variety of personal challenges. Even more intriguing, therapy has been shown to be more likely to reduce the likelihood of returning symptoms when compared to medications in the long run. However, this doesn't necessarily imply that talk-therapy doesn't have its drawbacks. Talk therapy requires that you open up to someone who at least in the beginning is a complete stranger. Although this can be difficult at first, clients often find the bond that develops to be extremely enriching. Another potential drawback can be the fact that talk therapy requires some sort of regular and consistent time, as well as financial commitment.

So, what can you do to make the most of your talk therapy experience? Potential clients often become fixated on the variety of technical approaches that any given therapist might use. Although this can be important, the research shows that the primary predictor of a positive outcome is the quality of the relationship between the therapist and the client. With this in mind, we see that choosing a therapist that you feel comfortable with may be the most important factor in ensuring a beneficial experience.

To summarize, research consistently shows that talk therapy is effective and is most likely to allow for long lasting change when compared to other forms of treatment.

Medication Therapy

Another option for overcoming life's challenges or mental health struggles is to seek treatment from a psychiatrist or other prescribing provider. A great many seek relief via anti-depressant, anti-anxiety or other prescription medications. These medications often provide more immediate relief of symptoms than talk-therapy alone and they don't necessarily require the same time commitment. For these reasons, prescription medications can be a suitable option for the treatment of mental health difficulties. However, it is important to remember that often these medications can have negative side effects such as weight gain, increased anxiety or thoughts of suicide, as well as shakiness or nausea among others. And while in certain situations these medications can provide more immediate symptom relief, talk therapy is at least as effective, especially in the long-term. If you have to choose between talk therapy alone or medication therapy alone, you might consider personal circumstances, side effects, as well as long-term outcomes and potential time commitments.

Ultimately, prescription medications can truly be a beneficial treatment option, especially in certain situations and under certain circumstances.

Combined Therapy

Finally, we have the option of combining both talk therapy and medication therapy. If possible, this approach is shown to be most effective in treating mental illness, when compared to using any single approach.

A combined approach provides the benefit of more immediate relief from combined therapies, while also allowing for the long-term benefit of talk therapy.

With this sort of approach, coordination of care between therapist and prescriber can be crucial, while coordination is shown to provide optimum quality of care and treatment outcomes. If you choose this approach, you may want to sign a release of information, allowing for your therapist and prescribing provider to best support you in your recovery. Despite the clear benefit of a combined approach, drawbacks might include financial concerns, side effects and the commitment required by seeking treatment from multiple providers.


While both talk therapy and medication therapy have their respective benefits and drawbacks, a combined approach may be the optimal treatment option in treating psychiatric symptoms. You may want to consult with your current or potential providers for direction on what might work best for you. Due to the importance of coordinated care in a combined approach, you may want to choose a group of providers that works closely together to provide optimal quality of care. At this time, Elevated Counseling located in the heart of Denver, Colorado offers collaborative medication and talk therapies as deemed appropriate by providers. You can find more information in the services section of our website, Also, feel free to check-out the links below for more information on the topic of treatment modalities and effectiveness.

Our Recent Posts