What exactly is therapy? The literal meaning of therapy is treatment. Whatever comes before it determines what kind of therapy we are talking about. Physiotherapy, for example, is typically used to treat injuries, bone and tissue repair, and pain relief. We all might have heard about it or might have experienced it ourselves. Similarly, psychotherapy is a type of therapy—we call it talk therapy—as well, which is used to deal with a variety of mental health issues and emotional turmoil. The problem is that physiotherapy is well known because going to a physiotherapist for physical health issues is fairly common. But, going to a counselor for mental health issues is not that common. And the people who visit a counselor or therapist find it hard to share this with other people.
We have numerous misconceptions about therapy (myths if you may). We’ll talk about them and also about the reality behind them.
1. Therapy is a waste of time and money
To be honest, I held the same opinion a few years ago, that therapy was ineffective. I visited six-seven mental health professionals, be it a counselling psychologist, clinical psychologist, or career counselor-sometimes for myself or for the purpose of internships and/or curiosity. I had a mixed experience with different professionals.
Yes, therapy did have a profound impact on me, but it would not be correct to say that all mental health professionals will be able to help you. For instance, when one doctor’s medicine does not give you results, you go to another one. I did the same. And I found some really good counselors who were perfect for me. So the only thing is, it is a subjective experience. You need to find the right therapist for you because not every therapist is the same and neither is their way of dealing with clients.
(Note: We will discuss different types of mental health professionals in upcoming blog posts).
Secondly, I believe that if I don’t have a stable mind and emotions, then it is really difficult to focus on something else. So therapy is not a waste of money and time, provided you find the right therapist for you.
2. Therapy is for people who are crazy or mentally challenged in some way
This is exactly what we see in movies and TV shows most often. But it is really far from the truth. Going for therapy can help you with managing your emotions and stress in general life. It helps you with higher-order mental health issues, but it can also help you with mild levels of anxiety and agitation. It helps you manage your emotions and negative thoughts.
As we are often told that physical ailments are better treated in the initial stages, the same goes for mental health issues. The sooner you identify your triggers and work on them, the better.
So, next time, correct the people who tell you that therapy is for psychotics (again something we will discuss soon enough!) only. Also, we humans find it very hard to be vulnerable around most people. We do not want to appear weak or needy. Hence, asking for help is a brave step forward because not everybody can do that.
You can also check our post on How To Control Your Thoughts.
3. Therapy is a long-term process
The duration of the course of therapy is subjective depending on the degree of issue and the client. Some therapeutic practices go on for a longer period if the client has gone through extreme levels of trauma, for example, sexual abuse or the death of a loved one, and so on. Some clients get to see improvements within 3–4 sessions as well. So it is not good to generalize and it is highly dependent on the client/patient.
4. Therapy makes you dependent on your therapist
The main objective of therapy is to provide a neutral and safe environment for the client where he/she can speak his/her mind and, knowing that the information will be confidential, he/she can express their views openly. This is done so that the client can learn to communicate their emotions and feelings better. This gradually leads to them being self-reliant.
Therefore, therapy doesn’t make you dependent on anybody else but yourself.
5. Therapy is for rich people
Today we have multiple options to get help for mental health issues where a few NGOs provide free of cost or low-cost therapy sessions. Many online platforms also provide therapy for lower prices. If you really need help, you can always contact and identify such platforms.
Also, when you have any physical health problems you do not think twice before taking an expert’s opinion. Then why would you want to risk your mental health?
Therapy is a safe space where you are allowed to express your views without judgement or criticism. The right therapist will help you find balance in your life and can push you to become capable of finding answers to your problems. It is not really a waste of time and money. How could it be if it is helping you become mentally healthy?
It could be long-term depending on the severity of the mental health issue you are facing, which is highly subjective. There are various sources from where you can find free or low-cost therapy and can take a step towards sound mental well-being.
You can also check this post by PsychCentral.