There’s a lot of bad info out there about therapy. Whether it’s from movies, tv shows, fear of starting it, or people who have had bad experiences with it, there are many myths out there about therapy that just aren’t true.
I really hope this one goes away. For years, therapy was stigmatized and it was thought that only people who were “mentally ill” or “sick” went to therapy. Not true! Anyone an everyone can benefit from therapy. Therapy is a safe, neutral place where you can talk through your feelings and stressors and learn healthier ways to live. Who couldn’t benefit from that? Even therapists go to therapy!
This may have been true in the past. However, therapy is much more accessible now. If you’re struggling financially, you can use a community mental health center to see a therapist. You can google therapist who do a sliding scale (session costs are based off your income). You can also use your insurance. Or you can use a website like openpathcollective.org where therapists register themselves and offer sessions from $30-$60.
There is the idea that you have to be extremely depressed or anxious or have suicidal thoughts in order to “qualify” for therapy. But you can start therapy for anything you’re experiencing! Some people begin therapy because they want a safe space to talk through their feelings, about the present or the past. Others just feel off and want help with figuring out why. People may also engage in therapy because they have a lot of goals and want to be the healthiest version of themselves in order to achieve them. Any reason is acceptable!
As mentioned above, therapy has been heavily stigmatized for years. Some individuals may be nervous to start therapy because they’re worried about how it will be perceived, by others, and maybe even their own personal biases against therapy. Mental health is SO essential to your overall wellbeing. No one would think twice if you said you were going to eat healthier, begin working out or start reading more. But for some reason, mental health isn’t seen on the same level. Understand that working on yourself is pretty much always going to be the right thing to do.
Most therapists want to see you weekly for therapy in the beginning. There is a lot to cover, the relationship has to be built (and more frequent sessions help with that bond), and you can possibly meet your goals quicker. But if you can’t afford weekly therapy, either due to time or money, then you can talk to your therapist about what works best for you and come to an agreement.
This is a big one for my clients. They fear that once they begin making progress and start feeling better, that I will tell them that therapy is over and they’ve graduated. Not true! Therapy doesn’t need to end when you’ve reached your initial goals. You can create new goals or you can decrease the amount of time that you’re seen. Example-maybe you were being seen every week and now you move to bi-weekly appointments. Or you were seen every other week and now you can move to monthly sessions.
While some people may be on medication for their mental health, it is not a requirement for therapy. Some symptoms or issues people are experiencing don’t require medication in order to make progress. If you are on meds for your mental health and they’re helping you, then great. But they aren’t necessary for every person who wants therapy.
It’s a common myth that your therapist is going to tell you what to do. Therapists really can’t give you direct advice about what to do. Therapy is about helping you explore all of your options to identify what’s available to you and what path is the healthiest. Also, just because you’re struggling, doesn’t mean hat you’re broken. Everyone goes through rough periods of time and the goal of therapy is to make sure those periods stay just that, periods, and aren’t dominating your whole life.
There are many myths about therapy that are out there, due to misinformation, stigma, and fear. However, don’t let these myths stop you from taking steps to work on your mental health. You deserve to feel like your best self and therapy can help you get there!