I don’t need a psychologist, do you think I’m crazy or something?”
Too often I hear people making claims that seeing a medical professional about their mental well-being is only for people who are gone bananas. Somewhere along the line, there was a negative stigma that associated therapy with insanity. If you suspected a broken finger, there would be zero hesitation to hurry to the hospital, but on the other hand, you think it’s completely acceptable to be a total pessimist all the time. There is something utterly wrong with that statement. The problem is that mental illness is on the rise in Canada and many of us are still choosing to ignore it! One study shows that 79% of adolescents ages 6-17 with mental disorders do not receive care at all. Just like a numerous amount of those adolescents, there are many of us who believe that therapy is only for people who have nowhere else to go. It is a monumental misconception that therapy is only for soldiers with PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) or married couples who have been through numerous affairs. Therapy can be useful for ANYBODY, ANYTIME!
They Went to Therapy?!
There are also multiple celebrities and famous people who seek therapy and have opened up about the success it has brought them.
Kesha – Kesha struggled with an eating disorder problem which arose from the unrealistic pressures and critiques of the music industry. She entered therapy because she was getting too afraid to even leave her house, the thought of paparazzi always lurking accompanied by the constant hatred and negativity of trolls, prompted Kesha to loathe her self-image. The pop star spent only two months in therapy and emerged as a whole new person! Kesha not only realized her own self-worth but no longer was so deeply affected by how others viewed her!
J.K Rowling – Unlike Kesha, Rowling went to therapy when she was at the peak of her career searching for help to cope with the Harry Potter success. After her books became overwhelmingly popular, Rowling felt extremely disoriented as her life turned upside down. She never knew anybody that was such a large public icon and she was clueless on how to react to it. Rowling stated how she was a huge fan of therapy and how it really helped her deal with her complications. This being said, undoubtedly you would not call the wildly famous author of the Harry Potter franchise deranged… so why are you any different?
Debunking The Myths About Therapy
There are several untrue misconceptions about going to therapy which worsens the stigma and also tends to steer people away from seeing a psychologist. As an attempt to shed light on some truth, here a couple of the most popular therapy myths that must go away!
Myth No. 1 – Therapy is only for the weak.
Reality – Everybody has their own problems and imperfections and many people feel by obtaining help, they will be viewed as weak, incapable of solving problems on their own or inadequate. It is actually the opposite, in fact, it shows that you have deep courage and insight! We have to remember that we are all just humans! It is physically impossible to be strong in all areas all the time. Furthermore, speaking to a counselor enables you to openly confide in someone that you have absolutely no personal connection with, which is extremely liberating, and on top of that allows them to give you an objective opinion! By going to therapy you are not only being strong for yourself by pursuing personal development, you are being strong for everyone around you by displaying a more positive attitude as well as being a role model for breaking the stigma of mental health and therapy! (Because there is no reason to be secretive about it!)
Myth No. 2 – I already know everything that therapy will tell me, plus it’s too expensive anyway.
Reality – “Everything that this therapist is going to tell me, I already know… I already know that I need to think positive and let go of the past. Why should I waste a bunch of money on something I don’t need!” I’m here to debunk two myths at once here. First of all, therapy is not this extremely lucrative commodity. Therapy prices range from being free in some community clinics to extremely high hourly prices by some of the best practices. Also, keep in mind the positive type of investment you are making. Countless people invest in a personal trainer to achieve a preferable level of physical fitness, but nowhere nearly enough people invest in a coach for your brain, your most important muscle! The payoff you receive afterward is usually much considerable as well, for example, marital therapy is much cheaper than a divorce! Secondly, so many people think that therapy is useless because you’re constantly hearing family and friends rehearse the same old positive mumbo jumbo! You already know everything the therapist has to say. Instead of having that mentality, remember that psychologists are trained professionals that have years of education and training, therefore, allowing them to provide you with more than just some good advice. Think of therapy to be similar to a course in school, and you are the only subject. This is a place to just focus on you.
Myth No. 3 – Therapy is only for “real” problems.
Reality – Therapy can be beneficial for an extensive range of people with a wide spectrum of different mental illnesses. This can vary from deep depression, simply to general anxiety! Plenty of people that are not diagnosed with any severe mental illness seek therapy, but the stigma around it keeps many people feeling indifferent and silent. There are a lot more people than you think that see therapists regularly, but they are just not comfortable talking about it openly. Contrary to popular belief, A MAJORITY of people that could benefit from therapy are fully functioning people that are looking to resolve smaller issues related to relationships and painful events from their past. Therapists are also known as “Mental Health Specialists” and they are trained to help people live happier and more fulfilling lives! Everyone can work on their mental health, no matter how happy and healthy their brain may be!
Myth No. 4 – I must be resting on a sofa
Reality – More of a dying stereotype now, but I couldn’t bear to leave it out… No! You don’t have to lie on a couch and stare at the ceiling. Truthfully most modern therapy environments allow the patient and the doctor to sit facing each other. Along with that, contemporary therapy practices have provided us with several options that allow us to never leave the comfort of our own homes including, phone therapy, email therapy and also skype therapy! While the couch is still usually an option, most people opt for the more present day options!
Therapy Is NOT One Size Fits All!
I think everyone should try therapy, but that does insinuate that therapy is right for the masses. Therapy is extremely beneficial for people that engage with their therapist. That is why it is so important to find a counselor that is right for you! People are different, therapists are different, therefore there is no one correct treatment solution. It is tremendously important for a patient to be comfortable speaking with their counselor because for them to receive acceptable help, they must feel safe enough to share their own personal thoughts and feelings without the impulse to lie or distort themselves.
Seeking mental health is a very daunting task, but if you’re on the fence trying to decide… you probably should! There are far more positive reasons that outweigh the negatives and waiting for the right time may never come. It really is not as big of a deal as you made it out to be in your head. It is the same as going to get a cavity filled by the dentist, or getting an X-ray from the doctor. Stop procrastinating and start living your life to the fullest and let’s break the stigma of mental illness together!