There are a million and one reasons why people avoid therapy. For some, the cost is too expensive while others are afraid to open up to a stranger. Whatever your reason, here are a few myth busters….
1. Therapy is for "crazy" people
Therapy is not a sign that you are “broken.” Attending therapy does not mean that you will be diagnosed with a mental illness. More than anything, it shows how much you want to become a better version of yourself. People go to therapy for different reasons.
Some just need a place to vent, while others have a very specific focus like career, relationship, or past trauma. Depending on what brought you to therapy, you and your therapist will set different goals for your time together. Your therapist’s role is to facilitate the process, not force you to make a particular decision or tell you what to do. In the hour that you spend with your therapist, she will work to create a safe space where you can be free to think, feel, and explore without distractions, judgment, or fear. Use the time and space, as you need.
2. I won't be understood
Well, this one is partially true. Since it is impossible for your therapist to know everything about the human experience, she may not understand every single thing about you… only you do.
Throw in race, religion, ability, or sexual orientation and things are bound to get tricky. In these situations, you can use your expertise to educate your therapist about your language, traditions, or values. If this feels uncomfortable, you have the right to choose a therapist based on your needs. Take your time choosing a therapist, it’s important that you feel comfortable as you begin therapy. Similar to any relationship, it takes time and patience to build trust.
3. I've tried it before... doesn't work
“I’ve tried therapy before, it’s useless.” I’ve heard it before, trust me, I’m not offended. For a lot of people, it comes down to one key thing… they didn't like their therapist.
Similar to dating, you meet, get to know each other, and decide if this person is the "one" for you. If there's no connection, you simply start dating someone else. I'm not saying it's easy, but it takes time. The same can be said for finding the right therapist, it may take trial and error.
If you genuinely dislike your therapist or begin to feel uncomfortable, I’d suggest you voice your concerns with your therapist. It may be something that you can work through. But just like any romantic relationship, you have the right to end a relationship. You can start the process over and begin a new search until you find the right one.
Before leaving, think about why you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes, your discomfort isn't caused by the therapist... which is why I remind my clients that there will be days when they don’t want to show up. There will be days that they don’t like me or the idea of seeing my face. Why? Because therapy brings up all the ugly stuff we work so hard to keep under wraps. When the “ugly” starts to surface, it can be painful and uncomfortable. That doesn’t mean therapy doesn’t work, it means we’re just beginning the HARD WORK. So don’t give up when it gets uncomfortable, by pushing through the mess, you reap the benefits.
4. Therapists only listen for the money
I’ll admit it, this one makes me laugh. Out of all the professions, therapy definitely wouldn’t have been my choice if I was in it for the money. I would have followed in my father’s footsteps and gone into engineering, there’s tons of money in that field…
But all jokes aside, I understand why this comes up so often. If you’re ignored by family members, friends, and coworkers; it would seem unlikely that a complete stranger would truly care about your feelings.
I’ll let you in on a secret… most therapists understand the feeling of being misunderstood and ignored. We've been where you're at... and that’s exactly why we chose this profession. We want to be the support that we didn’t have.
5. It's too expensive
Without insurance, you can easily pay $120 for a 50 minute session. So if you commit to going every week, you could end up with nearly $500 in fees from your therapist. Who can afford that? I can’t.
That’s why you should be aware of affordable options.
- Sliding Scale: $120 may be listed as the standard fee but many therapists offer sliding scale (a lower rate based on financial income). If it is not listed online, feel free to call and ask directly. If she does not provide sliding scale, ask for a referral that does provide this option.
- Community Centers: Many cities have agencies/non-profits that have affordable rates. A simple google search of: “affordable counseling” or “sliding scale therapy” may produce several resources for you. Rates may vary.Below are a few local resources in Austin, TX
- Capital Area Counseling
- Waterloo Counseling
- College Centers: This option is available to college students. Nearly all schools
- have a counseling center to meet the needs of their students. Some offer endless counseling free of charge, while others have a small fee and limited sessions. Either way, this is a great way to “try” therapy and begin the process. Most college centers provide group counseling, mindfulness and meditation, and have community referrals for continued support. Be sure to find out what is available to you.
Beginning therapy can be an intimidating process but the benefits are endless. Don't allow any myths or excuses to get in the way of you becoming the best version of yourself.
What myths would you add to the list? Do you have a question about therapy or counseling?
Share your thoughts or questions in the comment section!