Counseling sessions and therapy can be powerful methods of healing and growth. They provide therapy that can help you clarify your values, work through challenges, increase your self-awareness, and strengthen your relationships.
While our society is becoming more and more open to these ideas, still there are some therapy myths and misconceptions about counseling and therapy that discourage people from seeking help.
These myths and misconceptions about mental illness also contribute to the stigma surrounding mental health issues and prevent people from learning about or utilizing the services of trained mental health professionals.
This guide will give you a better idea of what counseling is. So, let’s explore and unpack some of these common myths.
People who go to therapy are weak and crazy
It is one of the biggest myths that keep people from seeking help. Most people may believe that people should solve their psychological problems independently and that reaching out to someone else would mean admitting defeat.
Therefore, they consider asking for help from a professional therapist shameful. And there are a lot of cultural messages supporting this view. But they’re wrong.
In reality, many people who go to therapy are ordinary, everyday people struggling with common, everyday problems.
They may be having difficulty adjusting to significant life changes – like becoming an empty-nester, starting a new job, becoming a parent, getting married or divorced and much more.
They may be facing problems in their own lives or relationships, feeling overwhelmed by self-criticism and self-doubt, having trouble managing stress, struggling with body image concerns, or suffering with grief or loss.
These struggles are common, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t painful and challenging. And it certainly does not mean that one somehow should be able to figure it out all on their own. Perhaps they could.
But why not use all available tools, including asking for help from family or a therapist.
Asking for help doesn’t make a person weak. It takes enough courage and a certain amount of maturity to acknowledge that we don’t know the answers to all problems and to reach out and ask for some guidance.
Talking is not going to fix anything
Therapy provides you with a safe space where people can talk freely and process their emotions, but a good therapist won’t listen to make them feel heard. Instead, they will look for different patterns in how their mind works and how they can help you make it work better.
The major goal of therapy is to give clients strategies and tools for navigating whatever is going on in their life – from stress, relationship issues or pressure from work to managing a mental health diagnosis.
But a therapist won’t just hand over some life-changing advice and call it a day.
You might not know that most self-growth from therapy happens outside of the office. Good progress occurs when you apply what you have learned outside that setting in your daily life.
So, this means you have new skills and the potential to enact real change in the way you think, behave, and cope daily. All you need is to put in the work.
Once you start therapy, you have to go forever
When it comes to a mental health issue, there are no quick fixes. Strengthening your brain through therapy is like maintaining your body through exercise. It takes patience, time, practice, and persistence.
Every person who enters therapy is a unique individual, which means there is no universal formula to determine how long it will take to make the client feel better. Committing yourself to enter therapy is a way to learn about yourself to enter counseling to learn about yourself.
Additionally, one can also improve their decision-making process, resulting in more uplifting feelings regularly.
Therapy is an investment in yourself.
It is important to note that therapy should always have a goal. When that goal is met, you will naturally phase out of therapy. On the other hand, you might know that goal initially, and in those cases, you and your therapist will figure out goals together.
All therapy is the same
All kinds of therapy is a conversation. But the structure and content of that conversation depend on the type of therapy. For example, solution-focused therapy helps people identify and implement strategies that have worked for them in the past.
Another type of therapy known as Psychodynamic psychotherapy, which is a variant of traditional psychoanalysis, aims to give people greater insight into their unconscious motivations and feelings. Other types of treatment include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
CBT is one of the most famous forms of psychotherapy. It teaches people to recognize and change self-defeating negative thoughts and behaviours. It is effective at treating anxiety, depression, and substance abuse but can also be helpful for other everyday life issues, like sleeping better and adopting healthy habits.
Talking about my problems could make them worse
It is true that talking to about all the problems and painful emotions that you have been ignoring for a long time may feel uncomfortable for a while.
Feelings that you’ve been working hard to stuff down may come out in the therapy. But they have been there all along, and they have been impacting you in different ways – through nagging worries or discomfort, physical or mental health concerns, strained relationships, etc.
Often things have to get a little bit worse before they get better. Sometimes broken bones need to be reset before they can heal properly. But that increased discomfort is temporary. And it will ultimately lead to things feeling better.
Therapy is not always easy. It is challenging. Sometimes it can become uncomfortable, even painful.
But a therapist will be with you in that experience, teach you skills to manage that discomfort, and help you learn to have compassion for yourself in the process, so you do not have to feel overwhelmed. The end goal should be feeling better and working through the issue, so they don’t keep getting in your way.
I can just talk to my friends
While talking to a good friend can provide emotional support, therapy offers unique benefits that a close friend may not be able to provide.
Friends may have their own biases, limited knowledge of relational issues, or emotional involvement in the situation, which can impact the advice they give.
On the other hand, therapists are highly trained professionals, who provide objective guidance, offer evidence-based techniques, and create a safe, non-judgmental space for exploration. Therapists can help treat and identify underlying patterns, provide specialized tools, and offer a neutral perspective.
Therapy also maintains confidentiality, allowing individuals to express themselves freely without worrying about social dynamics or potential judgment.
Therapy is only for treating mental health disorders
Therapy is not limited to treating mental illness and behavioral health disorders; it can benefit individuals facing a wide range of challenges.
Therapy is often associated with addressing serious mental health problems or conditions such as anxiety, depression, or trauma. However, therapy goes beyond that.
It can help individuals navigate life transitions, improve relationships, manage stress, enhance self-awareness, and foster personal growth. Therapy provides a supportive environment for exploring emotions, gaining clarity, and developing effective coping strategies.
It is a valuable resource for anyone seeking to enhance their well-being, regardless of whether they have a diagnosed serious mental health condition or disorder. Therapy is a tool for self-improvement and personal development, not just for treating disorders.
These are a few of the common therapy myths facts and misconceptions that we think get in the way of people seeking therapy when it otherwise could be helpful to them.
These myths about therapy will persist, but as our society becomes more aware of our biases, we open up to more mental health treatment and healthcare possibilities. And if you’re the one who has been avoiding therapy for any of the aforementioned reasons, consider this your sign to make an appointment today.
While therapy can be beneficial for many, it may not suit everyone. Factors like readiness, motivation, and engagement in the process influence how therapy works and its effectiveness. Finding the right therapist-client fit and exploring different approaches can help determine if therapy is suitable.
Therapy offers self-exploration, skill-building, emotional healing, and personal growth. It provides a safe space to understand oneself, learn coping strategies, heal from past experiences, and foster positive changes in various life areas.
Challenges in therapy include facing painful emotions, self-reflection and change, vulnerability, and requiring patience and persistence. It can be uncomfortable to confront emotions, open up, make changes, and commit to the therapeutic process over time.