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  • Writer's pictureMonique Johnson

7 Myths About Therapy

When was the first time that you heard or saw anything about therapy? Was it in the media or in pop culture? Was it from a family member or friend speaking on the topic? We are all introduced to therapy in one way or another at some point in our lives. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about therapy in both the media and pop culture. The long history of stigma surrounding therapy and mental health also contributes to the misleading depictions of the therapy process. So, you might have some knowledge about what therapy is, but there is a possibility that it is incorrect information. Let’s clear that up! Here are seven common myths about therapy.

MYTH 1: Only “crazy” or mentally ill people go to therapy.

Most people avoid therapy because they believe that it’s only for “crazy” people or for those that experience mental illnesses. It is very important to understand that everyone has mental health. Mental health is the emotional, psychological, and social well-being of an individual. Mental health impacts how we handle stress, interact with others, and the choices that we make daily. Therefore, if you struggle in those areas of your life, then therapy will help you live a healthier life. Therapy can teach you skills, challenge your thinking patterns, explore your sense of self, and more. Therapy is for individuals that experience mental illnesses, but it is also for everyone else in the world trying to live their best life.

MYTH 2: I don’t need a therapist. I can just pray about it.

This myth is very common and is discussed a lot within the African American communities. Many individuals in these communities connect mental health with religion and faith. They use their spirituality as a great source of strength as well as support to get through tough experiences. This is a great resource, tool, and coping skill to use when your mental health is suffering. BUT it is still important to see a therapist as well. If your arm was broken, then you would see a doctor. So, if you are struggling with your mental health, then you should see a therapist. You can always have God and a therapist.

MYTH 3: Once I start therapy, I will have to go forever.

This myth comes from the lack of education and information on therapy. Individuals who experience mental illnesses are more likely to be in therapy longer than individuals that do not experience mental illnesses. Everyone’s process is different. Majority of therapies are short-term. Some people only need a few sessions, while others may continue for longer periods of time. In therapy, you have set goals to accomplish. Once those goals are met, then you begin to phase out of therapy. You can also go to therapy for a few months, meet your goal, take a break, and return to therapy when you need it. Therapy always has an end goal. It is not forever.

MYTH 4: I don’t need a therapist. I have my family and friends.

If you can talk with your friends and family when you are struggling with your mental health, then continue to share your experiences with them. Social supports are very important for our mental health. Family and friends help us throughout life, but they are not a substitute for therapy. Therapists are highly trained professionals that know how to assist with a person’s mental health while remaining objective and nonjudgmental. They provide an unbiased opinion that you are not always able to get from a friend or family member. In therapy, it’s all about you. So, you don’t have to share that time discussing each other’s issues while you’re trying to process your own experiences.

MYTH 5: Therapy is too expensive.

This myth is also due to the lack of knowledge and information on therapy. It is true that there is a lack of accessibility to mental health services in certain communities and for certain demographics. Over the years, many community leaders have created organizations to serve those communities by providing community mental health services. Majority of individuals in therapy do not pay the out-of-pocket fee. They either pay a sliding scale fee or they use their insurance. Most state health insurances and private health insurances cover mental health services. You must find the right provider that is in network with your insurance.

MYTH 6: People will shame me for going to therapy.

Well, nobody has to know that you’re in therapy. You can choose to tell as many people as you want or not tell anybody at all. Therapy is confidential and your therapist is required by law to maintain your privacy unless it is an emergency. If you decide to share with others about your therapy process and they shame you, then they are not genuine people in your life that support you. Myths and misconceptions about therapy are also reasons that people shame others for going to therapy. So, use that time to teach them about the truths of therapy.

MYTH 7: A therapist can’t help me unless they have experienced what I’ve experienced.

Many people feel like they can’t get help from a therapist because the therapist has not experienced what they are experiencing in their life. This is false and incorrect information. Again, therapists are highly trained individuals that are skilled in helping you with your mental health. They have years of experience and supervision that has prepared them for the work that they will do with you. Most therapists choose to not self-disclose within the therapy process. So, about 85% of the time you will have no idea if they have had your experiences or not because it’s about you in therapy, not your therapist. Trust the process and allow a therapist to walk alongside you throughout this journey.

These are just a few of the most common myths and misconceptions about therapy that make people avoid it. Educate yourself and others about therapy and mental health. Therapy helps and it works. You must be ready, willing, and open to therapy for it to be beneficial to you. If you don’t put in the effort and don’t do the work, then attending therapy will be pointless and you won’t benefit from it. So, let’s get to work!

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns about therapy and if you need help with finding a therapist!

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