Therapy can make you happier than a big fat raise!

November 30,2009 

Seattle, WA Depression Therapy

I ran across this little gem and just had to share it.

Research has shown that you really CAN’T buy happiness, which really shoots holes in the idea we all have once in awhile when we exclaim “ If I only won the lottery I would ______" (fill in the blank) Of course it goes without saying that we think that would really make us happy. Well, it would certainly go along way to one’s personal debt reduction, but would it really make you happy?

The Universities of Warwick and Manchester, have found that psychological therapy could be 32 times more cost effective at making you happy, than just getting a pile of money. These studies compared large amounts of data from 1,000 people who reported on their sense of well being. Then they looked at how well-being changed due to therapy, compared to sudden increases in income. What they found was that a 16 week course of therapy, that cost about $1,600 had a large effect on personal well being, and that in fact, the personal gain in happiness was so large that it would take a pay raise of over $50,000 to achieve an equivalent increase in well being! Thus, therapy could be 32 times more cost effective at making you happy than getting that big fat raise. (Incidentally, this study makes therapists very happy to hear that!)

This study went on to suggest that governments would be much better off if they increased the access and availability of mental health care as opposed to increasing economic growth. This further illustrates that point that over the last 50 years, developed countries have not seen any increases in national happiness in spite of the fact that they have had huge economic gains. On the other hand, funding for mental health is on the decline. Hmmm, It seems that something is way off here!

University of Warwick researcher Chris Boyce said; “Often the importance of money for improving our well-being and bringing greater happiness is vastly overvalued in our societies. The benefits of having good mental health, on the other hand, are often not fully appreciated and people do not realize the powerful effect that psychological therapy, such as non-directive counseling, can have on improving our well being.”

This is not an uncommon realization in therapy, we can’t make someone else happy, nor can we except them to increase our sense of well being. Happiness is a gift that comes from knowing who you are, being content with your own sense of wonder, and living an authentic life… and you can take that to your therapist!

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