Let’s be honest, the television and film industry is pretty good at dramatizing situations in ways that make viewers believe what they are seeing and hearing. However, all these films and sitcoms have only one thing to offer – entertainment. Your experience with a licensed therapist will not at all resemble that of Tony Soprano nor will you find a cursed Jiminy Cricket offering his services in your area.
As in many fields of practice, myths about therapy abound. By learning how counseling services really work, you may be more willing to seek the help you need.
1. Seeking therapy means you are crazy.
Most often, those seeking help from a therapist are simply struggling with everyday stress. Major life changes, overwhelming grief, relationship problems, and self-esteem issues are all examples of reasons why people see a therapist.
2. You can fix your issues on your own.
Sometimes a positive attitude can help someone rise from a funk or muddle through their life, but this idea tends to only exacerbate the feeling of stress and depressive feelings. An experienced therapist has the ability to give insight and wisdom that may not occur to those struggling with personal issues.
3. Therapy will confirm my worst fears.
Many clients go into therapy believing that something is fundamentally wrong with them and that treatment will only confirm the ideas they have about themselves. The truth is, a therapist doesn’t want to label their clients, they simply want to help them understand why they feel what they feel.
4. Friends do the work of a therapist for free.
Yes, social interaction is a very healthy activity in which to participate. On the other hand, while your friends and family may listen to you speak about your problems and sometimes offer advice, it’s a good idea to remember that these confidants don’t have the training necessary to help you learn the coping skills you need.
5. My employer will find out I’m in therapy.
Whether you are worried about using your health insurance to pay for therapy or you will need time off from work for appointments, the only way your employer will know you are in therapy is if you tell them. You are not required to specify your need for time off, nor is a therapist or health insurance provider allowed to tell them about your services.
6. Counseling services cost a fortune.
Of course, there are times when a client needs more sessions than others due to bigger issues and those payments can add up over time. For lesser issues, less time will be required and the suggested length of therapy will be shorter. Not only that, many therapists charge clients on a sliding scale, insurance companies cover some of the costs, and there are low-income programs that may be obtainable.
7. A therapist will make me feel worse about myself.
Therapists are not out to shame you or blame you for feeling the way you feel. In fact, these professionals simply strive to help clients process and learn about the reasons for their issues. Their true intent is to teach self-compassion in a safe and nurturing environment.
8. You need to have a disorder to see a therapist.
While therapy is very useful to those with serious mental health issues, it is also meant for those working through ordinary emotional or behavioral problems. Clients will seek therapy when their thoughts, feelings, and actions are keeping them from living a normal life and therapists are well-versed in helping in these situations.
9. You don’t have time for therapy.
The 21-century has freed up a lot of time for those seeking therapy. A good therapist is committed to helping you through your struggles. These days, they are more likely to work around your life, allow you to contact them digitally via email or text message, and even provide remote sessions when you are unable to see them in their offices.
10. Medication has more visible effects.
Medication is only one small part of therapy services and many counselors do their best to avoid prescribing them to clients. Talking about the issues you are having in order to understand them has much greater effects of treating the cause than medication. For example, emotional stress such as grief cannot be repaired with medication alone.
Don’t allow misinformation to cloud your judgment when considering therapy. You may even feel compelled to share the truth about these myths with others so they, too, can feel comfortable with the idea of seeking the counseling services they need.