Therapy is a foreign concept to many individuals. That being said, it’s unfortunate that the appreciation of therapy can be easily distorted by rumors, bad experiences, poor representations in movies, and social stigmas. For this reason, I compiled a short list of myths that have circulated within our society. If you are contemplating whether or not you should see a therapist, I hope this will help you on your journey.
Therapy is too expensive
One of the concerns that discourages individuals from seeking therapeutic services is the price of sessions. Finances are certainly something one should keep in mind as therapy can indeed be costly in some cases. That being said, fees can range from low to high depending on the therapist being seen. In fact, some therapists offer a sliding fee based on the client’s income. In addition, there are a number of clinicians who choose to accept payment from insurance providers. We spend money on things that make us feel good, so why not invest in your health? If you are still unsure about exploring therapy, you should consider the costs of not receiving services.
Aren’t they all the same?
Contrary to the examples of countless movie portrayals, all therapists are not psychologists. In reality, there are a handful: Marriage and Family Therapists, Psychiatrists, Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors, and more. The educational requirements, specialties, and trainings vary based on the type of license; however, the therapeutic approaches that one chooses to apply are of personal preference. If you find that you and your therapist are not the right match, then perhaps you should look for another one. You won’t hurt his/her feelings and he/she will provide you with referrals so you don’t feel completely lost. Finding the right therapist is almost like shopping for clothes, you need to put them on until it’s the right fit.
I will be medicated
Many people are led to believe that clients will inevitably be medicated by their therapist and this is simply not true in most cases. Mental health professionals who are trained and licensed to prescribe medication (psychiatrists and registered nurse practitioners) are allowed to do so. Therapists might work with a client’s physician or refer said person to his/her physician in order to promote safety. Ultimately, it would be your decision on whether or not to use the medication.
Therapy is for crazy or weak people
Sadly, society has created a long lasting stigma of therapy: those who receive these service are weak or crazy. Fortunately, this perception is gradually changing for the better. It is not necessarily considered taboo, in fact people are now encouraged to undergo therapy. I believe many would agree that choosing to seek aid during times of distress is a display of strength, courage, willpower, and awareness. One can easily decide to isolate himself/herself and deny that there aren’t any issues. There shouldn’t be any shame in wanting relief from problems in life. Just as one would see their physician for a physical complaint, one should easily feel as comfortable seeking help for mental health issues.
Therapists have all the answers
To put it simply, we don’t. It would be great if we did, but we are as human and flawed as everyone else. In therapy, we are there to listen, provide empathy and a safe and healing environment, and guide clients to discover their own answers. There may come a time where the therapist will provide their insight and make a suggestion; however, we are primarily there to help clients grow and find the correct path using their own resources and wisdom. In all likelihood, you know yourself better than anyone else.
Therapists are judgmental and won’t understand me
If you’ve had this experience, I am deeply sorry and strongly encourage you to not lose hope and find a different therapist. Therapists are trained to promote healing and understanding while avoid being critical. Moreover, they strive to give clients the opportunity to have a voice and be heard. In fact, clients are supposed to do most of the talking during sessions. The therapy room is meant to be a place that is guaranteed to allow the client to express himself/herself without being judged. If however you find that your therapist is not compassionate and is pointing fingers, let him/her know and decide whether you should find a better match.
I sincerely hope this post brought some clarity to this sensitive subject. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them below and I will try to reply as soon as I can. If you feel that you are ready to see a therapist and are in the Burbank or Sierra Madre area, explore the rest of my website and leave your contact information if you like what you see.
By Christian Bonilla, a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist based in Burbank and Sierra Madre