So you’re thinking about therapy? I’m glad you’ve made it this far. Let’s try to get you to the next step.
Common myths about therapy keep people from committing. Let’s talk about those myths and try to get a different understanding.
People who go to therapy have “serious” issues
People come to therapy for a variety of reasons. Yes, some people have very serious, long lasting issues, however, most do not. Mostly, people come to therapy to learn how to handle whatever it is they are dealing with – depression, anxiety, stress, grief, troubled relationships or lack of quality relationships, life transitions…the list is long.
People who go to therapy are weak and can’t handle life
Unfortunately, culturally we do look at having psychological concerns as a flaw. Those who seek therapy can be stigmatized. If you are one who does feel stigmatized or weak, it is something that takes a certain amount of courage to get over. I recommend looking at it as a choice, is it better for you to stay stuck where you are, feeling awful, and not living a fulfilling life, or is it better to face the possible stigma if it means getting passed this rough spot? I would also encourage you to believe that the stigma isn’t as bad as you think. Most people have had a time in their life when times were tough. Knowing that someone else seeks therapy often can be the inspiration for someone else seeking it, too. Seeking knowledge and learning is a good thing. Asking for help can take more strength than letting things remain awful.
I don’t need to pay someone to do what my friends or family could do
Therapy is different than support. Good therapy will give you an objective point of view and ultimately good insight. It is difficult for friends and family to give you a perspective that doesn’t include what they want for you and what they think you want to hear. It is also difficult to take what your friends or family say as accurate; why would they know better than you. The relationship with them is reciprocal; it is just as much about them as it about you.
A relationship with a therapist is all about you. Therapists have extensive education, training and experience to give you a knowledgeable, objective perspective about you. They are trained to have tough conversations with you in gentle ways. Therapy is also confidential like other medical services. Knowing that your therapist will not share your stress with others allows for you to be more open.
Therapists need therapy, too. A few years after the birth of my first child I was still struggling with the transition from professional adult into parenthood, and then a few years later grief and anxiety consumed me after the suicide of a loved one. Even as a therapist who believed in the benefit of therapy, it was hard for me to pick up the phone and say, “I need help.” I’m a therapist, I help people get through times like these. Why can’t I help myself? I should be stronger. I should know better.
The fact is that no one is immune to problems. I am thankful therapy was there when I needed it and for the support it gave me through tough times. Committing to therapy is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of good self care.
I welcome questions or other worries, too. If you aren’t sure about therapy, call or email me; we’ll talk about your concerns.