Reach out and improve your health

When’s the last time you let it all out? Whether it’s sharing feelings, speaking out a long-held worry, discussing a dilemma, or conversing about a concern—talking is beneficial to our well-being. Through talking, we can unburden our minds, unclutter our thoughts, and better cope with life’s challenges.

Research highlights that talking can be validating, especially when the listener expresses empathy. It can lower negative emotions such as fear and anxiety, all the while elevating positive emotions such as hope and self-worth. Talking can also clarify understanding, build trust between the speaker and listener, and help to motivate.

What is talk therapy?

According to clinical psychologist Diana Brecher, talk therapy is “a safe and confidential opportunity to reflect upon, express, and grow from life experiences; and while counselling approaches might differ, the underlying intentions and goals are usually quite similar.” These might include recovery or shifting attitudes.

Talking is healthy, says Brecher, because it helps us recognize and explore what is going on in our thoughts and emotions in a protected space with someone who “has a more objective perspective than we do.”

She explains that “oftentimes, people get stuck ruminating over and over what has gone wrong—focusing on regrets and losses. It’s only when we begin to unpack these experiences that we can break free from old patterns and make changes.”

Talk to detox

We usually practice detoxification through food choices, exercise routines, body-based practices such as massage or sauna, or spring cleaning our physical space, each sharing an intention of letting go—of releasing, lightening, or simplifying. It’s also helpful to “detox” our minds through talking.

Who to talk to?

“If you choose to talk to friends or family about very personal and private experiences,” says Brecher, “kindness, respect, consideration, and, most importantly, complete confidentiality are essential. Think of it as sharing a secret.”

Although family and friends can be very helpful, sometimes an objective professional can bring new light to situations. When looking for a talk therapist, check your benefits for coverage or ask about a sliding scale.

Talk therapy shop talk

Here are a few of the different options.

CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy)
Supports positive shifts in well-being through changing one’s behaviors, thoughts, cognitions, physiology, or environment.

EFT (emotion-focused therapy)
Prioritizes the meaning, empathy, and change that can arise through recognizing, regulating, and transforming emotions.

DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy)
Emphasizes mindfulness to help emotional dysregulation and negativity.

Solution-focused brief therapy
In a handful of sessions, focuses on finding present and future strategies.

Narrative therapy
Regards the individual as making meaning from the stories they tell about their lives.

Psychodynamic therapy
Takes into account how an individual’s past may lead to misperception and misinterpretation of present relationships.

Family therapy
Uses conversations between family members (about disappointment, vulnerabilities, and traumas) to heal.

Motivational interviewing
Helps clients move through ambivalence into greater readiness for change by way of questions and dialogue.