I've been 'doing therapy' on and off for a few years now. These days, it's an essential part of my trade - you can't be an effective therapist unless you're experiencing it for yourself and dealing with your own issues.
How people think about therapy is a source of both constant amusement and constant frustration to me. People see it as strange. I see it as normal.
So, here are some common misconceptions about therapy alongside my thoughts....
1. Only crazy people go to see therapists. I haven't lost my mind. I'm not crazy. I don't need to see a therapist.
Craziness is not a pre-requisite for seeking therapy! Most people are not delusional, mad, hearing voices or anything else. Most commonly, clients are looking to deal with long-term and current stressors that have an impact on their life. They may wish to understand and change patterns of feeling, thinking or behaving - particularly if those ways of being are outdated, not helping or not working.
2. You're a weak person if you talk to a therapist. We should be able to solve our problems for ourselves.
Quite the contrary. It takes real courage to face your difficulties and to pursue change. It's a wise thing to engage with understanding and change. It can be a real learning experience where you discover things you probably knew unconsciously, but never really understood or had awareness of. A therapist will guide you through the learning and change process.
3. I tried therapy and it didn't work.
Different therapists have different approaches, using different tools and different modalities. For example, you may typically get 6 free sessions from a CBT therapist from the NHS. This may not be enough time to promote self awareness and understanding, merely attempting to change surface behaviour, rather than the underlying reasons behind it.
My suggestion would be to look for a therapist offering a different approach. I use a combination of Transactional Analysis and Neuro Linguistic Programming to offer a really wide ranging set of tools and understanding in the therapy room.
I would also add that a desire to change is important in getting results. If you don't want to engage in the process, it's unlikely you'll get results.
4. All they talk about in therapy is my relationship with my parents.
Well, as a transactional analyst, I do use the model of Ego States, where we discuss how we operate from Parent, Adult and Child. I also look at the parental messages you may have received as a child. But that is certainly not the be all and end all of therapy, and is only discussed naturally when these matters are impacting your current situation.
The focus of therapy, however, is usually on improving current functioning and relieving emotional suffering.
5. I just need to snap out of it.
Taking charge of your emotional life is part of getting better. Sometimes, however, we simply don’t know what to do. Sometimes others can help us figure out what to do - particularly when they are independent of your day to day life. Sometimes we need an emotionally safe place to process and resolve the issues that maintain the problem. The therapy room is perfect for this when it is accompanied by a strong, co-creative relationship between client and therapist.
6. If anyone finds out, people will make fun of me or it will affect how people see me. It might even affect my job.
Therapy is confidential. No one is going to find out unless you tell them about it. That is your choice.
All good therapists will explain the only times when confidentiality may be broken - and that usually involves where you may be a danger to yourself or others, or may be committing a crime that may cause a danger to others.
7. Talking won't help.
I don't call my service Talking Works for nothing! In reality 2/3 of therapy clients evidence a positive response to the therapeutic process.
Truth is this - I think therapy should be available to all. In reality, no one usually teaches us how to deal with the emotional rollercoasters of life. Therapy helps us understand ourselves ; it helps us grow ; it helps us change.
Sales pitch aside, I'd wholeheartedly recommend it.
Sales pitch engaged, get in touch if you are interested. You can book a free consultation with me on Zoom or the telephone using my website. No obligation. Just information about how I can help.