I’m acutely aware that there is a stigma surrounding therapy in our culture today. It seems to be everywhere you turn but thankfully, thanks to social media, it’s becoming less of a taboo thing. People are becoming more open to talking about mental health and the landscape of the conversation is changing. This is a HUGE step in the right direction.
My Personal Journey with Therapy
As for me, I currently go to therapy every other week and it’s something I talk openly about all the time but it wasn’t always that way. I used to be afraid to mention it for fear that people would judge me. That all changed when I finally opened up and the people that I thought would judge me, completely embraced it. I even heard things like, “I have been thinking of going myself” and now talking about it is not a big deal.
To hear more about my personal journey with therapy, check out my interview with Lora Beezy on her podcast Burpees in my Thirties by going here. In the interview, I talk about why I go to therapy and how it’s helped me and how it could help you too.
Related post: Nobody Has it all Together. It’s a quick read!
When it comes to mental health, my opinion is this: You can care a lot about the food you eat, the stuff you put on your skin and the clothes you wear but if you aren’t taking care of your mental health then you are neglecting yourself. Period, end of story. Mental health is so important but it seems to be put on the back burner.
Unfortunately, there are pre-conceived notions and misconceptions when it comes to therapy. Over the years I have experienced many from others and have struggled with some myself. Here are the top 5:
1. Therapy is too expensive.
This may come across as blunt…but yes, it can be expensive if you go to someone that’s expensive. Luckily, there are so many resources out there for you to take advantage of if you look hard enough. Some companies offer EAP (Employee Assistance Program) where you get 6 free sessions for each life event. Some insurance plans cover therapy and all you have to pay is your copay. Your local church may have free resources. If you’re in college, check into your student health plan and see what’s available to you. There are also therapists that offer a sliding scale based on your income. All in all, there are people out there that will work with you so that you can get what you need, and they do it because they are passionate about mental health and helping others.
2. If you go to therapy, you must be crazy.
First of all, I hate the word “crazy” so let’s rid that word from our vocabulary, please. Therapy is for everyone and all sorts of people take advantage of it. While it’s true that there are people with mental illnesses that go to therapy, there are also people that go to therapy to have an unbiased person to talk to about their struggles. The notion that you are mentally unstable because you go to therapy is just not true and could cause people to avoid getting help in the first place. For me, therapy is a safe place to go when I need help with something or just need a listening ear.
3. You need to have a big reason to see a therapist.
Negative on that, Nancy. Sure, a lot of people go to therapy when they are experiencing a major life event because that’s generally when people feel like they need it. However, like I said before, sometimes you just need someone to talk to, someone who is unbiased and will be able to offer you sound advice. So no, you do not need to have a BIG reason to see a therapist.
4. There’s only one kind of therapy.
There are so many different kinds! To name a few, there is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (also known as CBT), Talk Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Hypnosis, Guided self-help and the list goes on and on. I personally enjoy CBT because it’s helped me the most and I’ve seen the biggest results. However, what works for me may not work for you and that’s okay. That’s why there are different approaches out there and all you have to do is find the one that works best for you. I’ve tried other types before and will probably try more in the future.
5. Going to therapy means you’re a weak person.
I think it’s the exact opposite. It means you’re strong, that you’re aware of yourself and how you interact with the world, that you want to better yourself and that YOU are taking control. It’s all about mindset and knowing that you have control of you and how you feel, sometimes we just need a little help. If you are struggling or having a hard time, I encourage you to find someone to talk to even if it’s not a therapist. I promise you there are people out there that want to help you. You are NOT weak for needing human connection.
I hope that by reading this post, you realize that seeing a therapist is nothing to be ashamed of. I also hope that at least one person reading this gets confidence to try it out for themselves. It’s been one of the biggest game changers for me!
Have you heard a few of those misconceptions? Do you have a few of your own? Sound off and let me know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org! I’d love to hear from you. Want to be notified of my next post? Go here and get on the mailing list.
If you are looking for a counselor in your area, check out psychologytoday.com. This site is a great resource and it’s what I used when I found my last therapist. All of the therapists are verified and you can read their bios, what they specialize in and even see how much they cost.
If you are suicidal or are having suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. You are truly NOT alone and things will get better if you reach out and let people know what you’re going through.