I think it is safe to say many people have an idea of what they think therapy looks like. Usually it is close to what is pictured above. They think it includes laying on a couch and letting a complete stranger get in their head. This is a distorted and outdated view of what therapy is. Unfortunately, these misconceptions keep many people from seeking the help they need. Let's explore five misconceptions about therapy and gain a better understanding of what to expect.
THERAPY IS FOR "CRAZY" PEOPLE
First let's just clear the air and say most therapists despise the term "crazy." It's those type of words that keep people feeling stigmatized. The truth of the matter is, therapy is not just for extreme cases. If you feel stressed about work or are having trouble concentrating, therapy could benefit you. Not everyone in therapy has a deep traumatic issue they are working through. Not every person in therapy has a diagnosis. Some people just need objective assistance to dealing with some emotional concerns and stress.
IT'S NOT AFFORDABLE
It's surprising how many people believe therapy is a luxury they can't afford. Yes, some therapists charge a pretty penny for their services. There are though more affordable options than many may realize. A lot of insurance companies cover therapy, leaving you to only pay a co-pay. While there are many therapists like myself who do not take insurance, some offer affordable rates. A secret most therapists won't tell you is they usually offer what is called a "sliding scale fee." This means they are willing to offer their services at a lower price you can afford. Most times you have to ask about it and they usually only offer it for a limited amount of clients at a time.
THE THERAPIST CAN "FIX" YOU
I jokingly tell my clients all the time, "if I could fix people, I would be rich and fixed myself." The truth is, a therapist's job is not to fix you. Our job is to simply offer you tools and guide you in fixing yourself. Regardless, you must put in the work to see the change you want. The clients who tend to see the most change are the ones who try and use what they gain in sessions. You do the work, we just facilitate.
YOU WILL BE JUDGED
Often I have had clients tell me things and then they say "I know you think I'm crazy huh?" Again, that nasty word. Their point in saying that is they think I am secretly judging them for what they disclose. Some people can't get the thought out their head that a therapist will judge them if they said what they are really feeling. Honestly, many therapists have heard it all. There is little that can shock us. Even in being shocked, judging you is the last thing we're doing. Because we understand people on a deeper level, we tend to be more open and less judgmental.
YOU CAN JUST TALK TO YOUR FRIEND
I've heard people say numerous times, "why do I need to pay a therapist when I can just talk to my friend for free?" While logically it sounds good on the surface, advice giving and counseling are two different things. A bonus misconception is that therapists give advice. Going back to Misconception #3, we now know that a therapist's job is to facilitate, not just give you the answers to life. That includes giving advice. While your friend may be a great listener and gives great advice, they aren't doing therapy. Even as a therapist, what I do with my friends is a lot different then what I do with my clients. Plus, a friend does not offer the objective point of view that allows a therapist to better assist you.
Therapy is an amazingly powerful experience I would recommend for all. Seeking therapy though can be a scary process for some. I hope clearing up these misconceptions helps to make that process seem less daunting. #stayinspired