Debunking Myths About Therapy
While thoughts and feelings about therapy have come a long way recently, there is still a stigma associated with seeing a therapist. There are often many misconceptions about therapy treatment and what it is like, preventing people from getting the help and support they need. Here are eight common myths about therapy:
1. People who attend therapy are weak, crazy, or have serious issues in their lives
This is not true. Therapy can be utilized for a variety of different reasons. Most clients are struggling with things we all struggle with, which include things like: stress, depression, anxiety, relationships, self-esteem, work-life balance, and life changes or transitions. Therapy helps you learn skills to manage life's stressors better and feel good about yourself despite the challenges life throws your way.
2. Your therapist becomes your best friend.
While the therapeutic relationship is unique and intimate, it is strictly professional. Therapists are bound by ethics that require the relationship to be limited only to counseling sessions and other communication when needed.
3. Therapy is a quick fix.
Therapy takes time. Part of the therapy process is getting to know each other and building trust, which takes more than just a few sessions. Some issues can be resolved more quickly than others; however, the average length of time in therapy is 3-4 months.
4. Therapy is no different than talking to a friend or family member.
While friends and family can be great resources when you are struggling, those conversations are not the same as a therapy session. Unlike friends and family, therapists are trained to listen to your concerns and notice unhelpful patterns, provide an unbiased view on your issue, and provide coping skills and techniques to help you manage and support you in setting realistic goals.
5. You will always feel better after a therapy session.
Therapy is a process; part of that process is opening up and examining emotions or situations that can be difficult or painful. Unfortunately, this investigation can also mean you may feel worse before you feel better. Therapists are trained to help you through this, and often sticking through the challenging parts can result in the most progress.
6. Therapy is just talking or venting.
While therapy involves much talking, it is more than that. Therapists are trained in various techniques to help you better understand yourself and work through problems in your life. In addition, therapists work collaboratively with clients to set goals, monitor progress towards goals, and problem solve. Most importantly, therapy can help you feel your best. Therapy may also involve homework and require time outside of the therapy session as well.
7. People will judge me for going to therapy.
Therapy is confidential, and you do not need to tell anyone you are in therapy if you do not want to. Other's reactions to our decisions and choices also tell us more about their own discomfort than our own decisions, and we are not responsible for making them feel better. Therapy is a personal process, and each person should decide what is right for them.
8. I'll be in therapy forever.
It can be challenging to think about committing to something for an extended period of time. While therapy does require some commitment, you do not have to attend therapy for the rest of your life once you start. You can attend therapy for an extended time if it is helpful, but it is perfectly normal to take a break from therapy. Creating a relationship with a therapist can be beneficial, so you have someone to return to when things are difficult or you need extra support.
If you have been thinking about starting therapy, but one or a few of these myths have been holding you back, I hope this changes your perspective. If you need help or support, don't hesitate to reach out and schedule an appointment or free consult! You deserve to feel better!
Ready to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation?
Claire Whetter MS, LPC-IT, NCC
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Milwaukee WI, 53202