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Therapy Treatment & Counseling for Lawyers

Therapy Treatment & Counseling for Lawyers

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Statistics on Mental Health & Lawyers

  • Depression affects nearly a third of lawyers.1
  • Anxiety symptoms are reported by 19% of attorneys, while suicidal thoughts are reported by 11.5%.
  • 25% to 30% of attorneys facing disciplinary actions battle addictions or mental illnesses.
  • According to Bloomberg Law research, even lawyers who were happy in their jobs experienced burnout 28% of the time.2
  • Nearly a quarter (21%) of attorneys can be considered problem drinkers.3
  • 38% of lawyers surveyed by the American Bar Association (ABA) say they frequently put in long hours, and 9% say they “never stop working.”
  • According to a mental health survey, about 35% of law professionals claimed to experience depression in 2021, down from the 37% who did so in 2020 but still up slightly from 31% in 2019.4
  • Only 34% of respondents indicated they would use an onsite wellness specialist from the programs that companies offer to support mental health, while nearly 55% said they would use leave to access mental health care.
  • Only 22.2% of respondents claimed that working remotely worsened their quality of life, compared to nearly 58.8% who said it improved it. On the other hand, 76% of respondents claimed that interactions with coworkers were negatively impacted.
  • More than 37% of respondents indicated that working remotely benefited their mental health, while 35% claimed it had a negative impact. Similarly, 36% reported a decrease in stress, while 32% reported an increase. However, 46% of respondents reported improved physical health, while 28% reported a decline.
  • Nearly 32% of respondents claimed that working remotely resulted in more alcohol or drug use.
  • More than 25% of survey participants claimed not to consider mental illness a disease.
  • 1 in 4 female attorneys thinks about quitting the legal profession due to mental health.5

Common Reasons Lawyers Seek Therapy Treatment

Common reasons lawyers seek therapy may include:

  • Burnout
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Substance Abuse
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Insomnia
  • Disciplinary charges
  • Relationship issues

What Happens in Therapy for Lawyers?

Depending on the issues you are seeking to address, there are different types of evidence-based therapy for lawyers, including, but not limited to:6

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): an especially effective therapy treatment for burnout and anxiety.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): useful for people having suicidal thoughts.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy: People who struggle with self-esteem, self-confidence, self-expression, depression, and anxiety may consider psychodynamic therapy.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): The patient recalls traumatic events while receiving bilateral stimulation, such as tapping on each side of the body or side-to-side eye movement.7

Therapy sessions typically last 45 to 60 minutes every week. However, the times and frequency can vary, depending upon the specific issues you require lawyer therapy for, the type of therapy you’re receiving, and other factors.

When you meet with your therapist for the first time, the counselor will explain the intake papers, which include your contact information, primary concern(s), background information, the privacy policy, and the counselor’s disclosures, including their credentials. Many struggle during their first therapy session, which is entirely normal.

As you and your therapist continue meeting, medication may be prescribed or recommended as part of lawyer counseling services. This depends on the severity of your issue(s) and any potential diagnosis, such as depression. Furthermore, your objectives could change as you continue working with a therapist. Therefore, discussing changing your treatment course or switching therapists is acceptable.

Insurance may be able to help cover the cost of therapy. Find out if your insurance can help with the costs by calling your insurance provider or by contacting us below. One of our care coordinators can help you navigate your insurance coverage and get the care you need.

Things to Consider When Seeking Therapy for Lawyers

It could be tempting to make an appointment with the nearest counselor and cross your fingers if you’re already feeling overwhelmed. Finding the correct therapist, however, can help you improve your mental health and determine the best course of action. Research repeatedly demonstrates the importance of the therapeutic relationship.8

Inquire with potential psychiatrists in Tennessee about their training, professional experience, and success in providing lawyer counseling and handling issues comparable to yours. In addition to pricing, insurance, and office hours, don’t hesitate to ask many other questions.

Below are some examples of questions you may want to ask when seeking lawyer counseling:

  • What is your background in dealing with legal professionals?
  • How many patients have you seen?
  • How much have you been exposed to the law and its culture? Have you ever participated in trials in your profession?
  • What treatment methods and philosophies do you favor?
  • What distinguishes counseling for lawyers from counseling for civilians?
  • How long have you been a practicing mental health professional?
  • What must I do to succeed in counseling?

When searching for therapists and mental health treatment centers, you’ll probably find a series of letters following licensed mental health professionals’ names, which you may or may not be familiar with.

The prerequisites for each degree are different. For example, a clinician with LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) qualifications in Tennessee must have at least 3,000 hours of clinical practice in addition to a master’s degree in social work. At least 100 hours include direct supervision, 60 of which are one-on-one.9 And a psychologist (usually with a Ph.D. or PsyD) has training in various types of psychotherapy and psychological assessments.

You should find a psychiatrist or medical professional who can write prescriptions if you believe you’ll require medication. In addition, consider looking for a therapist who participates in support groups or group therapy sessions. This is especially beneficial if you want to be a part of a community of other law students or professionals who can relate to your experiences.

Finally, online treatment may be the best choice if you’re trying to balance a busy schedule. You don’t have to give up your work schedule to receive quality mental health care because many online therapists provide flexible appointments, including evenings and weekends. Online counseling platforms make it simple to discover a therapist with the appropriate experience, regardless of whether you’re dealing with substance use disorders, burnout, or trauma.


Lawyers should be completely aware of their counselors’ confidentiality policies because practitioner confidentiality requirements may differ. Therefore, before signing anything, you should carefully read this information. If you have concerns about anything in the paperwork, talk to the clinician as soon as possible.

It’s natural to be concerned about confidentiality before beginning lawyer therapy. After all, you’re used to handling sensitive information and reading the fine print. It makes sense that you’d be wary of entrusting others with your private information and emotional issues. Many are even concerned that what they tell counselors could endanger their careers. In a consensual counseling partnership, confidentiality exists so that people feel comfortable disclosing sensitive material and receiving the support, resources, and relief they require.10

Client privacy has moral and legal implications. Counselors and other mental health professionals must protect confidentiality through their professional oath, personal ethics, and legal licensure. As a result, counselors are prohibited by law from divulging anything disclosed during the confidential client-counselor interaction. Counselors take confidentiality concerns extremely seriously since violating confidentiality could result in losing their licenses.

Additionally, a set of regulations known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) safeguards people’s private health information, including mental health records. Anyone who violates HIPAA in the medical field may be subject to civil or even criminal fines.

With all that said, certain factors require a therapist to break confidentiality. Situations in which a clinician must violate therapist confidentiality vary by state and could include:11

  • To manage a situation where the client poses a serious risk to himself or others
  • If the therapist suspects elder, dependent adult, or child abuse
  • Whenever the patient has asked the therapist to discuss their issue in public
  • Whenever the therapist receives a court order

Benefits of Therapy for Lawyers

There are numerous ways in which the counseling process is similar to education. For the client to better comprehend the available treatment options, counseling may occasionally involve learning more about a specific condition (such as depression or anxiety) affecting them. In addition to developing new skills and learning more about yourself, the following are potential benefits of lawyer counseling:

  • Lack of side effects: There are potential side effects when people with mental health conditions are instructed to take prescription drugs. One may experience weight gain, sleep disturbances, and liver or kidney damage, among other harmful things. However, there are no adverse side effects with evidence-based talk therapy.
  • Enhances effective and beneficial communication: Lawyer counseling can assist professionals in developing communication strategies that contribute to better personal and professional relationships.
  • Safe space: A place where you can feel comfortable and safe sharing your perspectives.
  • Develop coping mechanisms: Assist lawyers in developing more healthy coping mechanisms to deal with issues and/or challenging cases.
  • Replacing unhealthy behavior and thoughts: Recognizing negative thought patterns and replacing them with positive emotional responses.
  • Feeling empowered: Improving communication, practicing healthy habits, and developing coping mechanisms can lead to feelings of control and empowerment.

Behavioral Health Resources for First Responders

Law companies, law schools, bar associations, and other organizations within the legal profession must take lawyer mental health and wellness, also known as legal wellness or lawyer well-being, very seriously. Although there are many “wellness” tools and programs online, many of them do not concentrate on the particular difficulties the legal sector faces. Below are a few behavioral and mental health resources for lawyers.


  1. Black, Nicole. “Survey Results: 2020 Lawyer Well-Being Statistics.” MyCase, 7 Sept. 2022, www.mycase.com/blog/general/survey-results-2020-lawyer-well-being-statistics.
  2. “Butler Snow | Mental Health in the Legal Profession.” Butler Snow, May 2021, www.butlersnow.com/news-and-events/mental-health-in-the-legal-profession.
  3. “Profile of the Legal Profession.” American Bar Association, 2020, www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/news/2020/07/potlp2020.pdf.
  4. “Pandemic Anxiety Wanes, but Legal Industry’s Mental Health Struggles Persist.” The American Lawyer, 12 May 2022, www.law.com/americanlawyer/2022/05/10/pandemic-anxiety-wanes-but-legal-industrys-mental-health-struggles-persist/?slreturn=20220929131340.
  5. Jackson, Dylan. “1 In 4 Women Attorneys Consider Leaving Law Because of Mental Health, Survey Finds.” The American Lawyer, 12 May 2021, www.law.com/americanlawyer/2021/05/12/1-in-4-women-attorneys-consider-leaving-law-because-of-mental-health-survey-finds-405-83476.
  6. “5 Types of Therapy: Which Is Best for You?” Cleveland Clinic, 25 Oct. 2021, health.clevelandclinic.org/types-of-psychotherapy.
  7. “EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.” WebMD LLC, 2022, https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/emdr-what-is-it
  8. DeAngelis, Tori. “Better Relationships With Patients Lead to Better Outcomes.” American Psychological Association (APA.org), 1 Nov. 2019, www.apa.org/monitor/2019/11/ce-corner-relationships.
  9. Writers, Staff. “Social Work Licensure in Tennessee | Find Accredited Programs.” SocialWorkLicensure.Org, 1 July 2019, socialworklicensure.org/state/social-work-licensure-tennessee.
  10. American Military University. “What You Need to Know About First Responder Counseling.” EMS1, www.ems1.com/amu/articles/what-you-need-to-know-about-first-responder-counseling-QLgP8GhqsQis9j5i. Accessed 26 Oct. 2022.
  11. Caldwell, Ben PsyD. “When Can a Therapist Break Confidentiality?” SimplePractice, 24 Oct. 2022, www.simplepractice.com/blog/therapist-break-confidentiality.

If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.

One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control. 

(615) 320-1155