"Who needs therapy?"
Updated: Jun 25
If You’ve Been Contemplating Therapy, Here's What You Should Know
Therapy isn’t just about sitting on a couch and talking about your problems.
It's about making a positive change in your life with the guidance of a professional. Despite the significant increase in mental health awareness and acceptance of therapy, there are still a few misconceptions that prevent people from getting the help they deserve.
If you're contemplating therapy but have doubts, it's worth exploring the truth behind the most popular misconceptions, what the process entails, and how therapy can help you.
What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy, better known as "talk therapy," addresses both the person's symptoms and causes. You don't have to go through a traumatic event to benefit from it. Whether you're going through a life change, having relationship difficulties, or need a place to talk about your stressors, a therapist can guide you towards a more fulfilling, happier life.
There are various reasons why people decide not to seek the help and support they need from psychotherapists. Many of these reasons lie behind the stigma attached to psychotherapy. Here are a few common reasons why people don't seek the treatment they need:
“People will think I am crazy.”
Psychotherapy doesn't relate to being crazy or having a mental health condition. Everyone has different problems and stressors in their lives, and getting help for them doesn't define a person as crazy. If you do have a mental health disorder, look at it as a physical health problem. Would you skip getting an x-ray for a broken bone? No matter how big or small the issue, having an objective perspective from someone trained to listen and guide you can rarely be unhelpful.
“People will think I can’t control my own life.”
Everyone has those days where we need a little more support. The problem arises when we keep things bottled up for so long, we start becoming ill, weak, and tired. Seeking that additional support doesn't make you weak. Why take on challenges alone if you don't have to? Unlike receiving support from a family member or friend, a therapist doesn't push judgment on your decisions and experiences and is there solely for the sense of support.
Benefits of going to therapy
If you realize how much you have to gain, getting help may become a priority in your life. Depending on your specific situation and a unique set of circumstances, there will be particular advantages to getting treatment. Here are a few common ones:
Enhanced quality of life. A mental health condition's symptoms tend to get in the way of living your life to the fullest. Although living with mental illness can present consistent challenges, getting the proper treatment will make it much more manageable and allow you to enjoy everything life has to offer.
Improved relationships. By asking for help, you improve your ability to verbalize your thoughts and feelings. It's one of the first steps you can take to improve communication within your other relationships. You'll have more time for the essential people in your life, and improve your relationships' quality.
Better performance at school or work. With a reduced amount of symptoms and effective coping strategies, you'll find it easier to concentrate and be more productive. Daily tasks will seem more manageable and cause less stress, giving you the motivation you need to get things done throughout your day.
Physical health. In addition to improved mental health, seeking therapy can also improve your physical health. By reducing stress, anxiety and working through issues, you'll be able to sleep better, improve your immune functioning, and feel better overall.
Encouragement and support. Not only can working with a therapist help you identify what your goals are, but you'll gain problem-solving skills and a fresh perspective on how to achieve them. Individual and group therapy can provide additional support by connecting with others going through similar experiences.
What to expect
Some varieties of treatment are more structured than others. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) typically has a plan for each session, and you may have set goals and homework. Others may be more flexible and supportive. The initial session, however, shares some commonalities. You'll most likely be asked to complete intake paperwork, verify your insurance, and take care of any other logistical issues. Your therapist will be happy to answer your questions before and throughout the process.
The bottom line
Reaching out for help is a significant step, one that shows not a weakness but significant
bravery. Initially, you may feel vulnerable and uncertain, but getting the help you need will set you on a path that genuinely enables you to enjoy your life.
No matter how long you’ve been struggling, it’s never too late to reach out to get the help you deserve.