Let’s debunk a few myths about therapy! Why? Simple, you won’t go unless you know the truth and not the rumors surrounding therapy. It’s 2019 and while we have made good strides towards opening our minds to mental illness, psychotherapy and the effects events have upon our life…we remain slow to take advantage of resources.
Myths About Therapy: “They will tell me I am crazy”
Fact: When deciding to go to a therapist for assistance in improving your quality of life, it can be nerve wrecking.
“What will this person be like” “Will they understand what I am going through” etc. That is understandable. HOWEVER, therapist do not (or should not) pass judgement or define you as “crazy”. If you have a mental illness, then you have a mental illness. Crazy is “defined as mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggressive way.” What does that even mean? Essentially the word crazy it what we want it to mean, how we use it in conversation or (in most cases) societal definition of it.
Myths About Therapy: “They just want my money”
Fact: Just like most other human beings therapist need money to survive.
They have gone to school, learned a craft and provide a service for a fee. Similar to going to your primary doctor, you expect them to bill your insurance or to have a copay because you received a service. However, there are many, many, MANY more lucrative careers that will provide the financially stability other than becoming a therapist. Many therapist offer pro bono service to individuals that cannot afford but need treatment. Some work at non-profit organizations or community/state agencies that do not pay as well but that population needs assistance too. They want to help.
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Myths About Therapy: “My friends can do the same job as a therapist”
Fact: While your friends may offer excellent support during troubling times it is not the same as therapy.
Your friends may offer advice to solving a problem or go out with you socially however this is not the same as therapy. As the American psychiatric Association defines it “Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a way to help people with a broad variety of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. Psychotherapy can help eliminate or control troubling symptoms so a person can function better and can increase well-being and healing”. In other word, therapist don’t give you answers to your problem (because that’s what we would do) rather help you determine what solution would suit you. Therapist help identify behaviors and thoughts that your friends are not trained to pick up on or would rather not jeopardize the relationship by mentioning any “shortcomings” you may have.
Myths About Therapy: “They will make me think something happened that didn’t”
Fact: Trauma discussion does come up when in therapy IF IT HAPPENED!
Therapist are trained in identified signs and red flags to individuals who have experienced trauma and the individuals who has experience may process it with you. Historically, individual therapist have processed in a way that led clients to believe they had sexual trauma where they had not. However as time, knowledge and training has improved this happens less often.
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Myths About Therapy: “Therapy is for people with REAL problems”
Fact: Therapy is for everyone
Do not get hung up on the fact that you have to have an addiction, trauma or mental health disorder to speak with a mental health professional. Many therapist in private practice help individuals who have life stressors, relationship issues, identity issues and etc. Therapy can help you resolve a multitude of life stressors and issues. Don’t allow stigma and limitations to affect your decision of whether or not you receive therapy. I would also add that even therapist have therapist!