“Talk to your family and friends, why are paying someone to talk to you”. “Are you crazy or something?” These are phrases people often say to others when they hear that you’re seeing a therapist. Many people won’t seek therapy because they don’t want to be labeled as “crazy”. Therefore in order to shed light on the truth about seeing a therapist and raise awareness, I’ve complied a list of things you shouldn’t assume about people who go to therapy.
1. They’re weak.
Going to therapy is a very courageous and strong thing to do. You have to be open to facing every corner of your mind and heart and be completely open about fears, truths and experiences in order to really get the most of what a therapist can offer. This requires strength. You need strength in order to explore your own emotional and mental limits and boundaries, strength to be guided in directions you wouldn’t go and strength to learn and actively seek a better place.
2. They’re crazy.
Whether someone is suffering from a mental illness or seeking help for overwhelming feelings/thoughts, “crazy” is never an appropriate term.
3. Therapy is for rich people.
Therapy can be expensive, but there are different ways to pay for therapy. Many therapists accept insurance and some have sliding fee scales. Also Open Path Collective can connect you to therapists who charge between $30-$50 per session.
4. They have no friends.
Therapy is not a replacement for friendship, and a therapist is not a friend. Friendships are two-way streets, which can cause a very biased view of experiences and circumstances; therapy is a one-sided relationship with a professional who has the skills to guide and help you through your struggles and needs. Most of my clients have many friends who love and care for them.
5. They’re in a bad “place.”
Someone does not need to be in a “bad” or “dangerous” place to see a therapist. There’s usually a catalyst for deciding to go, but it could be a culmination of experiences or feelings, not necessarily that something bad recently happened to you.
6. There’s a set time frame for being in therapy.
Some people go to therapy for years while some only go for a few months to work on a specific issue. The client and therapist will decide together an appropriate plan for treatment.
7. They’re on medication.
It’s common for people to believe that if you’re in therapy, you must be on medication. While some people who are in therapy are also taking medication, many are not taking any medication. Most of my clients in my practice do not take medication.
8. Their therapist tells them what to do and what to think.
A therapist is there to help you uncover your strengths, work through your struggles and help you to lead a healthier, happier life not tell you what to do.
It’s my hope that these common misconceptions will change and people will feel less ashamed about going to therapy. Remember there is nothing wrong with reaching out for help.