May was Mental Health Awareness Month and we want to conclude such an important month by debunking some myths people have when they think about therapy. People often think you only need to go to therapy after experiencing deep trauma, but therapy is a helpful tool for everyone – no matter what stage of life you are in.
Here are 5 myths about therapy that we want to debunk:
1. Going to Therapy is Weak
Many people believe that going to a therapist means we weren’t strong enough to muscle through life’s obstacles on our own. Asking for help signifies that we are weak and dependent on someone else to fix our problems for us.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. Humans are social creatures; we were never designed to take on the world alone. The job of a therapist is not to fix other people’s problems. Rather, therapists provide a safe space for others to explore their own skills and strengths and learn to use them in a way that serves them.
Utilizing a therapist means trusting someone when we are at our most vulnerable. It takes a great amount of strength to acknowledge the way we have approached life is no longer working and to create a new way to relate to the world around us. Going to therapy shows you are strong enough to tear down unhealthy habits and thought processes while also creating new, healthy ways to engage with our environment.
2. Talking about Things Doesn’t Help
Our society values actions over words, but in doing so it underestimates the power words can hold. Therapy is all about action, it challenges us to take the steps we need to create a healthy space in ourselves and our environment.
However, none of that can happen without first identifying the issues at hand. We need to talk about our experiences so we can fully understand them and the way they have impacted us. Once we grow comfortable naming and claiming both our strengths and limitations, we can start the hard work of making changes.
Feelings of shame and guilt are what keeps us from discussing things we aren’t proud of and hold us back from overcoming past mistakes. It’s only when we are able to speak power over the things we are ashamed of that we can grow from them and live our lives in line with our values.
3. Therapists Give Advice
Contrary to most beliefs, therapists do not give advice. YOU are the expert on YOUR life. It’s not a therapists’ place to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. In therapy you are provided with the opportunity to make your own decisions, without having to worry about the opinion or judgement of someone else.
Therapists will offer insight into the situation based off their knowledge and experience in their profession, but the decision is always up to you. Ultimately, therapists want to empower you to use your own inherent strengths and abilities to make the best choices for yourself.
4. Mental Health is Less Important than Physical Health
Physical and mental health are integrally related to one another. When someone has poor physical health, their mental health will also suffer. Vice versa, when someone neglects their mental health, their physical health will also decrease. When our mental health declines we are less likely to take care of ourselves, fulfill our responsibilities, or be socially engaged.
Poor mental health often presents with physical symptoms like fatigue, upset stomach, difficulty breathing, poor appetite, etc. Having untreated mental health disorders can be debilitating and cause much stress to the individual and their families. Going to therapy, practicing self-care, using coping skills, and getting support from loved ones are the best ways to maintain positive mental health.
5. Therapy is too Expensive
It is true that therapy can be very expensive, but there are affordable options available. The first option is to check with your insurance provider and ask for a list of therapists in your area that you could see that is covered by your insurance.
If for some reason you do not have insurance or cannot pay even with the help of insurance, not all hope is lost. Some therapists will offer their services at a sliding-scale, this means they will work with you to negotiate a fair charge for services based off your income.
Meeting with a therapist does not have to happen on a weekly basis, many people see their therapist on a bi-weekly schedule. Meaning you still get services, but at a more affordable rate. Ask your local mental health professionals what affordable options are available to you to allow you to take care of your mental health.
You can search for a local therapist near you today by visiting https://www.psychologytoday.com/us. This search engine allows you to find verified, licensed therapists in your area and outlines specialty areas, client focus, treatment approach, and financial information.