Updated: Nov 29, 2019
Therapy is one of the things that can have a lot of misconceptions and stigma around it. When people think of therapy, they often think of the traditional psychoanalytic model, client laying on an oversized sofa talking about childhood. As cliché as this might be, there is a great deal of insight that can come from talking about childhood traumas. However, your relationship with your mother isn’t the only reason to go to therapy! This article dispels 5 common myths around why people go to therapy.
Myth # 1
We only talk about the past. The past certainly has an inherent value to understanding ourselves and our lives but that doesn’t mean that’s all we focus on. There are lots of therapy models that encourage exploration of current presenting problems. One model that truly embraces this is Solution-Focused Therapy. In fact, this model discourages spending too long on the past because it’s founded on the premise that the current issues are where the work needs to be done. EMDR is another model that though, finds great value in how the past is impacting the present, offers powerful tools to address current dilemmas.
Myth # 2
You have to be “crazy” to go to therapy. Uhm, absolutely not. Yes, there are a large number of folks who are in therapy to address chronic mental health diagnoses like schizophrenia, Bi-polar disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD. Yet, you don’t need to have a specific diagnosis to attend. Therapy can be beneficial for dealing with things like stress around certain changes in your life including work, family, and school or what we call in clinical terms, life transitions, which everyone goes through at one point or another in their lives.
Myth # 3
Going to therapy means I’m weak. This one’s arguably the worst. There is nothing “weak” about going to therapy. Everyone needs support from time to time. Many don’t consider going to the doctor for a virus weak, so why consider it weak to see a therapist? In both cases, you might try different ways to resolve it on your own: i.e. do research online, reach out to friends or family for their input, give it time to see if it goes away on its own. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, the next natural step would be seeing the doctor. Why? Because they are trained in helping identify and address the issue. It takes a lot of strength and courage to say, “I think I could use a little help here.” Unfortunately, this stigma has been so ingrained and taboo that people have felt such shame and lives ended too soon to things like suicide. This is one stigma mental health supporters are working hard to raise awareness on and change in our society.
Myth # 4
People only go to therapy to “fix” problems. In a good relationship? Great! Have a stable job? Awesome! It’s true, a good portion of clients initiate therapy due to a problem/emotional distress they may be experiencing. However, therapy is also a great to do when things are going well. It can help you get clear goals and develop useful strategies to make them happen. Let’s see what you’re already doing well and find ways to help you tap into your ability to maintain those things and/or level up!
Myth # 5
I can’t afford it. Don’t let this deter you! There are many options to paying for therapy. Some who take private pay also accept sliding scale, offer certain packages, or will work with you to access out-of-network benefits. Other providers accept in-network insurance. There are also agencies that offer low-cost services. Whichever way you access therapy services, it’s worth exploring.
If you’ve been thinking about therapy but hesitant due to one of these myths, I hope it’s been helpful in clearing some things up! To find out more about me and the work I do, check out some of my other blogs and videos.