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Talk therapy is high-risk, high-reward, and therefore only net positive if you’re wealthy

For everyone else, unless it involves med management, it’s probably a net negative, and will be for a while

The cost-benefits of therapy are twisted to favor the wealthy. The potential upside of good therapy is life-changing, but figuring who will or won’t deliver that upside is maddeningly difficult. You could be stuck with a bad therapist for years and not know it because the therapist keeps you busy spinning your wheels while you work on your “issues.” The only patients who can sift among therapists properly are either the already emotionally well-balanced (so they don’t need a therapist), or the rich. For the rich, money is not a concern, meaning they can select from both expensive and inexpensive therapists.

Even though we have no studies showing that the quality of therapy is correlated with how it costs, we can assume that they couldn’t not be correlated. At the very least, therapists that make patients happy will be in high demand and thus would charge more. As a result, the rich have access to the widest range of quality therapists. In this way, money does buy happiness.

The fact that quality therapy might only be available to the rich makes therapy similar to wine-tasting. Refining your palette in wine-tasting requires a lot of money. Wine-tasting is also on the genetic cutting edge: you are either born with a “nose” or not. Likewise, therapy is on the frontier of human expression. Most therapy is bad, but the good therapists are great, and the great ones are Earth-shattering. As a result, the wealthy are the patrons of our collective endeavor to explore the benefits of mediated introspection. The upside is enormous, but currently, the ability to unlock that advantage remains in the hands of the select.