What are the risks of therapy?

Key Points:

  • Most people who have therapy or counseling for depression improve.
  • However, 1 out of 10 people will experience a worsening of their condition. For some, this is a result of their problem worsening (unrelated to the treatment). For others, the deterioration is related to the therapy or the therapist they are seeing.
  • If your depression is getting worse or not improving after a reasonable time, be sure to discuss this with your therapist.
  • You may benefit from a change to another therapist, another form of therapy, or to a medication treatment.  If you are taking medication treatment, a review of your medication treatment may be helpful.
  • Each treatment has benefits and risks.
  • Persistence is important. If you try a treatment, it is important to stick with it to allow time to see if it helps.
  • If you do not benefit from the first treatment you try, there is still a good chance your problem will respond to a different treatment.


Kraus, D. R., Castonguay, L., Boswell, J. F., Nordberg, S. S., & Hayes, J. A. (2011). Therapist effectiveness: Implications for accountability and patient care. Psychotherapy Research, 21(3), 267-276.

Please See:

What to expect during counseling or therapy

What are the results over time?

What happens when counseling is completed?

Who provides therapy or counseling?

Questions to ask when you are deciding on a counselor or therapist

How much does therapy or counseling cost?

Combining medication and therapy

Download: Fact Sheet: What are the risks of counseling? on our Fact Sheets web page.