Myth Busters: Psychotherapy Edition
Many people have misconceptions about what therapy and therapists look like. They see people like Dr. Phil on television being confrontational and shaming people for their actions and have no doubt heard their fair share of therapy horror stories. The bottom line is that therapy gets a bad rap. Even if you had not been swayed by depictions in the media, many people have the conception that you have to be “crazy” to seek out this kind of help. It is my hope that by reading this post I can help educate you on what therapy really looks like and encourage you to give it a try!
MYTH: You’d have to be crazy to go to therapy:
FACT: Many of us have been raised to be self-sufficient and solve problems on our own. We see images of therapy clients as people who are neurotic or have serious psychological disorders and we in no way want to be put into that category. Depending on what you’ve been taught, there can be a level of shame associated with reaching out for help. The truth is that people from all walks of life seek out therapy. It could be a married couple rehashing the same argument over and over again, someone who is grieving the loss of a relative, or even a child who is being bullied at school. Everyday circumstances can bring people to ask for help.
MYTH: Therapy is a never ending story:
FACT: Another misconception of therapy is that it is a never ending process that involves you lying on a couch exploring your relationship with your mother for years on end. This is simply not true! While there are therapists out there who use long-term models, here at Finding Solace we focus on making therapy brief and efficient. Many therapy techniques used today can lessen presenting problems within a few weeks. It is our belief that the length of therapy should be determined by the client’s needs.
MYTH: Therapy will break the bank:
FACT: This one could be a half-truth. Just as with any professional service, there is potential for it to become expensive; HOWEVER, we accept most major insurance plans and most cover a major portion of session costs. Just think about how you would not hesitate to visit a doctor when you are sick no matter the cost. You understand that if not treated, the sickness could become more severe which could lead to you missing work which equals missing money. The same could be said for emotional issues. We have to think of therapy as an investment in our emotional wellbeing that could help prevent major (and potentially more expensive) complications down the road.
MYTH: Medication is just as effective as therapy:
FACT: Medication can certainly be one treatment for things such as anxiety and depression; however, medication cannot rid us of underlying emotional issues and unhealthy behaviors. In therapy, you will learn new ways of communicating with others, expressing feelings, and behaving in ways that allow you to cope with life’s stressors. No amount of medication can teach us the healthy coping skills needed to reduce stress and problem solve.
MYTH: Therapists just smile and nod:
FACT: Again the media has presented us with images of therapists nodding their heads while playing tic tac toe behind a clip board. The fact is that therapists are trained in active listening skills and if you begin to feel as if your therapist is not listening to what you have to say, it may be time to find a new one. In order to achieve your goals, we must be fully engaged in what you have to say.
MYTH: Therapy will open up a painful can of worms:
FACT: While it may be therapeutic to discuss painful events from your past, it is not necessary for helping you with what you’re experiencing today. Some clients may find themselves more open to discussing their past while others may not. Where we go in therapy is guided by the client. Many of the therapy models that we use hold that you need not fully understand the problem to fix it. A small enough change can nudge you in a different direction and that may be all that's needed.
I hope that these myth busters have given you a better understanding of what therapy actually looks like. The golden rule of all therapists is “do no harm” and at Finding Solace we take that very seriously. We always strive to resolve client issues from a nonjudgmental stand point and in a timely manner.