Debunking myths about therapy
Updated: 4 days ago
I frequently come across people who have preconceived ideas about what psychotherapy might look like. Mainstream media is a major influencer in portraying therapy in a less flattering light. Below I will attempt to debunk some of the most common myths I’ve encountered.
1. Other people have more serious issues than me
I regularly see clients who believe the issues they are going through are not as serious as others might be. Therefore, they often feel embarrassed and delay seeking assistance that they might have benefited from. Many people can be in a quite stable and well-functioning place but might find it helpful to gain some techniques to manage thinking patterns or how to handle emotions or behaviours in a more productive manner.
Please remember that everyone’s feelings are valid, it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help but a sign of resourcefulness and try not to compare yourself to others. A therapist intention is not to judge you, but to listen and support you through what you are currently facing towards your therapy goals.
2. Attending therapy is selfish
Going to therapy is something incredibly positive that you are doing for yourself and for other people in your life. Both you and your loved ones might benefit in various ways if your mental health and wellbeing is improving.
3. The counsellor will be passive or give advice, just like a friend
One of the benefits of reaching out to a mental health professional is that they tend to not be biased with no preconceptions or specific agendas about you. This can provide a fresh, non-judgmental perspective to the issues you are currently going through.
There are many different schools and ways of practicing psychotherapy. Some practitioners might work in collaborative and active way through exercises challenging old self-limiting beliefs, strengthening the way you perceive yourself or identifying your inner values, etc. A therapist is not trained to provide advice, but instead might utilise techniques to allow you to find inner guidance to make your own decisions.
4. Therapy is overpriced
Attending therapy can be expensive, however if you have limited means to support yourself there are some low-cost alternatives that you can investigate. Please read for insights into assistance in Norway, alternatively approach a therapist to ask if they offer sliding scale or pro-bono work.
Please note that the cost you pay for a therapy session also includes the cost the therapist is required to pay towards professional membership association fees, ongoing professional development, supervision fees, room booking fees, time to research specific issues, preparation, and administration.
5. If I start going to therapy, I will be stuck doing it for years
Psychotherapists all work through different approaches so look for a person who you think would fit your specific objectives best. Therapy doesn’t have to go on for years unless you find that helpful. In fact, the type of treatment you choose depends on your needs and underlying issues and can go on for as little as a few sessions to years. You will decide with your therapist when you feel better and want to discontinue therapy.
6. Therapy is not confidential
All mental health professionals work according to a strict ethical code of conduct ensuring confidentiality of their clients. There are a few exemptions to this code which should ideally be explained to the clients at their initial meeting. For the therapeutic relationship to be successful there must preferably be trust and openness in the relationship and the right to privacy is essential to form this special bond.
I hope this information has provided you with a more complete picture of what going to psychotherapy sessions might look like and debunked some myths about therapy. Please don't hesitate to reach out to myself or another mental health professional if you have any other questions or would like assistance.