Counselling and therapy can be powerful methods of healing and growth. They 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 myths and misconceptions about counselling and therapy that discourage people from seeking help.
These myths and misconceptions 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 counselling is. So, let’s explore and unpack some of these 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 problems independently and that reaching out to someone else would mean admitting defeat. Therefore, they consider asking for help from a therapist shameful. And there are a lot of cultural and 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 relationships, feeling overwhelmed by self-criticism and self-doubt, having trouble managing stress, struggling with body image concerns, or dealing 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 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 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 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 mental health, 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 counselling 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 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 thoughts and behaviours. It is effective at treating anxiety, depression, and substance abuse but can also be helpful for everyday issues, like sleeping better and adopting healthy habits.
Talking about my problems could make them worse
It is true that talking 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 health symptoms, 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.
These are a few of the common myths 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 mental 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.