Sometimes people get the wrong impression about therapy. Here are just a few of the most common therapy myths I’d like to clear up.
Myth #1: Only crazy people go to therapy to deal with crazy problems.
Fact: Clients are overwhelmingly normal people with normal concerns – how to parent more effectively, how to handle a relationship, making a decision about a career path, etc.
Myth #2: Only “weak” people go to therapy.
Fact: Nothing could be further from the truth! It takes courage to ask for help and strength to have the willingness to make changes.
Myth #3: All therapists are nuts.
Fact: Okay, some therapists are nuts. But most are just regular folks who have a deep interest in people and a desire to help.
Myth #4: Therapy takes forever.
Fact: While some therapies are lengthy (either because the client wants a long-term, trusting relationship with their counselor or because there are some complex issues to work through) many are brief, completing in less than 10 sessions.
Myth #5: A therapist is just a paid friend.
Fact: Therapists are not clients’ friends. They are highly trained professionals who have therapeutic conversations, quite different than typical conversations. How so? Well, therapists strive to be objective and unbiased. They attempt to remain neutral and help clients make their own decisions rather than telling them what to do. Most importantly, therapists are great listeners with one agenda – to help.
Myth #6: Therapy doesn’t work as well as drug treatment.
Fact: Clinical studies have conclusively demonstrated that counseling sessions are as effective as drug treatments for a wide range of concerns including most mood and anxiety disorders. The great part is that counseling doesn’t have the risk of nasty side effects that some medications can produce. In addition, for those already taking medication the literature suggests that combined treatments (i.e., medication and talk therapy) can be more effective than either by itself for certain disorders.
Myth #7: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Fact: Nonsense! People can learn and change. I see it happen every day in my work with clients. Yes, it takes some motivation and effort, but change does happen.
Myth #8: Therapy just blames all problems on childhood issues.
Fact: While some therapies devote a good deal of time to examining the past, many others do not. This practice is named Focus Forward for a reason: while the past has a certain degree of relevance to the work, what we really want to do is get clients to deal effectively with their past, make changes in the present, and focus on building a brighter, healthier future.
Myth #9: Therapy is too expensive.
Facts: Therapy is actually quite affordable for most. For those with insurance coverage, most presenting concerns will be covered at the rate of a modest co-payment per visit. For those without insurance or those who choose not to use it for privacy reasons, counseling sessions can be more affordable than you might think. We try to be flexible and work with people who have special financial concerns to make counseling accessible.
Myth #10: Therapists just sit there and listen, not contributing anything.
Facts: Our work will be collaborative. A good therapist knows when it’s important to listen and knows when it’s important to provide feedback and direction. You have a right to expect more from your therapist than being a silent figure in the room!
If you’ve been wondering what therapy is really like why not setup a consultation to find out? Maybe you can get the facts for yourself and get some real help that you’ve been looking for.