I read the blogs on the PsychCentral website and one of my favorite bloggers is Margarita Tartakovsky. She recently interviewed many therapists and blogged about myths that prevent people from seeking help when they need it. One might wait to get help until their concerns have deepened, when it’s harder to intervene. Or they might not go at all, suffering in silence.
Here are just five of the many myths that prevent people from entering therapy.
Myth: Going to therapy means there’s something wrong with you. Carla Naumberg, Ph.D. suggests that attending therapy means that, like every other human being on the planet, you have come up against challenges in life, and you could use some support from a safe, impartial person. I believe that going to therapy means you are interested in solving problems you may be experiencing and understanding yourself better.
Myth: Therapy is for crazy people. Many people seek therapy as a last result because of this myth. By this time their problems have amplified. Thinking therapy is only for people out of touch with reality or psychotic is an idea that may get passed down through generations in your family. Really, therapy is effective and helpful not only for people who suffer with severe clinical issues, but anyone who feels stuck and needs help finding a change in perspective. Clair Mellenthin, Licensed Clinical Social Worker says: “The truth is, all of us are human and each of us goes through a very personal journey in life that is ful of both joy and pain.”
Myth: The therapist is going to fix you. Christina G. Hibbert, Psy.D. tells us therapy is a partnership and when both parties do their part, change is the result. The therapist offers the tools and the client implements them in his or her life. That’s what therapy is about.
Myth: Real change will be sudden and striking. “Many people seek ‘aha’ moments and can fail to see the gradual progress they are making. Lasting and meaningful change happens bit by bit, step by step, not all at once.” Janice Webb, Ph.D.
Myth: Therapy isn’t fun. Elizabeth Sullivan MFT finds therapy fun because we are often able to laugh at ourselves, increase our perspective and gratitude, and see the absurdity in this life!