4 Misconceptions About Therapy

4 Misconceptions About Therapy

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Mental health problems are more common than you think. In fact, statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health show that 51.5 million U.S. adults have some form of mental illness. But the stigma that surrounds mental health problems and misconceptions about therapy — teletherapy and traditional face-to-face sessions — can prevent people from scheduling an appointment. From the availability of therapy being open to everyone, there’s still much to do to educate the public about mental health wellness. But to begin, this article will clear up some of the misconceptions many people tend to have about therapy:

 

 

1. It Involves Lying On A Couch While A Therapist Takes Notes


This scenario is something you typically encounter in movies and books. However, this arrangement can create a psychological and physical separation between the therapist and client. This can prevent the client from connecting and disclosing important information. A good setting for a therapy session should be similar to a living room where both of you sit in comfortable chairs. This is non-confrontational while also encouraging dialog. A therapist also shouldn’t be too close as to accidentally intrude on your personal space.

Alternatively, teletherapy is also a good option for those who would rather get therapy from the comfort of their own homes. This is also more convenient as you can schedule when you want your appointment to be, and choose the therapist you think can help you best. While you can't remain anonymous in teletherapy, it's secure. And information such as name and contact details are available only to your therapist.

 

 

2. It Always Involves Prescription Medication


Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention saying that one in every six adults experience it at some point in their lives. It’s also common for people with depression to also experience some anxiety disorders. Depression is usually managed through prescribed drugs, and because of how common the condition is, another misconception about therapy is that it always involves prescription medication.

However, SymptomFind mentions that this isn't always the case as there are other kinds of therapy that don't require pharmaceutical management, like talk therapy. But you do have the choice of whether you want to take meds outside of it or not. Mental health professionals also consider other factors before getting a patient started on medications, such as if they have experienced drug failures before. Some therapists also believe that medications are only absolutely essential for the most severe cases of mental illnesses, such as psychosis.

 

 

3. It Gives Ready-made Solutions To Your Problems


Therapists don’t have pre-planned solutions for everyone. They don't have a one-size-fits-all proposal. Instead, they tailor their therapy sessions around your needs by listening to you and guiding you to realize patterns in your behavior and any events that may have led to it. Rather than curing you, they teach you good coping skills that you can use to change for the better. If you're having sessions through teletherapy, they may be able to further contextualize their suggestions since they can have a feel of your surroundings.

For instance, if you have a social anxiety disorder, our 5 Tips for Managing Social Anxiety Disorder article says that a therapist can help you identify negative thoughts and feelings and suggest coping strategies. An example is refocusing your attention away from your symptoms to anchor yourself. If they happen to see during a teletherapy session that you have a dog, they may suggest playing with them to distract you from your anxiety.

 

 

4. It’s Only For People With Mental Health Problems


While therapy can be very useful for people with mental illnesses, Self shows that there are many other reasons you might want to go to therapy — and they're all equally as valid. You can even go to therapy if you feel stuck or unsure about what you feel since therapists can help you figure out your goals and identify obstacles that may be preventing you from reaching them.

Alternatively, you can also have an appointment if you just want an unbiased and confidential person to talk to. But rather than giving advice, a therapist will guide you to reach certain realizations of whatever is bothering you, and what you can do about them. If you find it difficult to immediately let go of the stigma that only those with mental health problems go to therapy, you can try even just one teletherapy session first since it doesn't require you to go out of your way to physically see someone. This is so you can get a feel as to how sessions go and see if it's something you'd like to continue.


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Alice Palmer

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