For a major part of its existence, psychotherapy has been rocked by criticism. Even though mental health problem is a worldwide issue, misconceptions about therapy have stopped a lot of people from seeking appropriate help for some of these problems. These misconceptions also add to the stigma associated with mental health problems and therapy. This article is meant to look at some of these misconceptions in an attempt to nullify them. It will also serve as a help to those in need of therapy who are still skeptical about it.
1. Therapy is just for people with “serious problems.”
This is one of the most common misconceptions of therapy. First of all, the word “serious” is very subjective. Therapy can be effective in a host of issues, including anxiety, trauma, depression, stress at home or work – or if you’re trying to better understand the patterns in your relationships. Psychologists will not judge or rank your problems based on their seriousness. All they care about is if you want to learn more about yourself or if you want to improve aspects of your life (it doesn’t even matter what aspect).
2. Therapy isn’t needed if you have friends and family
Yes, it is important that we all have support systems in our family and friends, but the fact is that you can’t discuss everything with them. You might not want them to judge you, or you might not want to end up hurting their feelings – both could end up damaging your relationship. Your family or friends could also hold opinions or suggestions regarding your problem that might not be helpful to you or your case. They’re also not professionals, so their suggestions and advice are not well-informed.
3. Therapy is meant for weak or crazy people
This is another very popular misconception about therapy. Almost everyone goes to the hospital when they encounter physical problems. Why can’t it be the same for therapy when emotional problems are encountered? We can try to act like a problem doesn’t exist, but the strong or confident thing to do is to acknowledge that there’s a problem and to subsequently look for help. There should be no shame in that all. It isn’t hard to find a great psychologist in Johannesburg or anywhere else. You just have to be open to the idea of seeking help.
4. People in therapy will have to do it forever
There’s a misconception that once you begin therapy sessions, you will have to continue for a long time. For people worried about monetary constraints, this could be a big turn-off for them. However, this isn’t true – especially in the majority of cases. You could keep on attending sessions if you feel that they continue to help you and improve your life, but the fact is that it doesn’t have to last for years. Admittedly, the length of treatment depends on several factors, which include underlying conditions. You and your therapist can agree on the best time to conclude.
5. Therapy isn’t confidential
It can be quite difficult to open up to someone that isn’t familiar with you, and there’s also a fear that the happenings in your life could become public knowledge. However, this is not the case. A good therapist will not divulge your information to anyone as there are laws and ethics that assure this. There are some circumstances where the therapist won’t be able to keep some information private, but these circumstances should be explained at the beginning, so you know what you’re getting into.
6. Couples’ therapy is meant for relationship bound to fail
This is another common therapy misconception. If you and your partner acknowledge that there’s a problem and seek help on time, there’s a higher chance that the problem can be addressed. If you both wait until it has festered, there’s every chance that you won’t be able to come back from it.