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    5 Common Myths about Therapy


    Does anybody remember the MAD TV therapist skit with comedian Bob Newhart??! A lady comes in seeking help with her phobia of being buried alive. After emotionally describing her struggle, the therapist said, “Now I can solve your problem in just two words so listen carefully.” As she leaned in, the therapist spontaneously and abruptly shouted “STOP IT!” As she went on to explain that she is bulimic and likely has some childhood trauma, he continued to shout “STOP IT” as the remedy! While the skit was certainly funny, hopefully most people realize it is a parody on the worst kind of therapy! But for some who take it to heart, it definitely gives the wrong impression on what therapy is or should be. Sadly, mainstream media and comedy has frequently stigmatized therapy as weird or even useless. Certainly there are some therapists in the field that hold strange views and whom I would actually encourage people to stay away from! But not all therapists should be lumped together with those! Here are some common misconceptions that many people think about therapy:

    MYTH #1: Therapy is for “crazy” people

    While therapy is often viewed as the place for people with major depression, phobias, stress, addictions and severe mental health issues, some pursue therapy simply for support and life skill development when facing transitions such as job loss, relocating, divorce, or the death of a loved one. Still others seek therapy for strategies on balancing work, life, career and parenting. Anyone can benefit from therapy if only to gain a greater self-understanding and self-awareness. It is NOT just for people with diagnoses!

    MYTH #2: Therapy is like paying for a friend

    Many people often believe they don’t need therapy because they can just talk to their friends or family about their problems. Why pay someone to be their friend? What people often don’t realize is that therapy is very different than friendship. Therapists have years of specialized training and experience in understanding human behavior, emotion, and complex problems. They can provide you with an objective level of insight that those closest to you may never recognize, or feel freely able to share. Basically, they can teach you how your mind works, and how to overcome the barriers blocking you from becoming who you are meant to be! Also in therapy, you have the opportunity to be completely honest and raw in what you share without the fear of it getting back around to Aunt Judy! Confidentiality is sacred in therapy (with certain exceptions like abuse or self-harm). It is also different than friendship because it is not a mutual relationship; it is not a “let’s hang out and vent to each other!” While a therapist may share some personal things, all self-disclosure typically holds a specific purpose (a point or moral related to you). Therapy is for you! Not for the therapist. So what you are paying for is not just someone who cares! Rather, you are paying for the therapist’s time, their knowledge, and their useful, applicable insight! The caring part is just free! It comes with the package 🙂

    MYTH #3: Therapy is too expensive
    Many look at local rates for therapy and immediately dismiss it as too much money. However first of all, it is important to know that there is quite a range on cost. While some therapists and psychologists may charge several hundred dollars per session, some accept insurance and some offer sliding-scale rates. Second of all, it is important to consider the long-term gains of investing. How many of us are willing to drop a few hundred bucks on retail therapy?? So easy to invest in that new pair of shoes, cute clothes, or latest electronics! What if I told you that an investment in therapy is actually an investment in yourself?? The incredible amount of self-awareness, emotional resilience, and tools you could gain to help improve your quality of life is absolutely worthwhile and potentially even invaluable!

    MYTH #4: Therapy is a weird new-age feel-good sob fest
    Like the MAD TV “Stop it!” Skit, most misconceptions about therapy are a result of the way it is portrayed on television and the media. Frequently, we watch scenes of individuals laying on a couch, crying their eyes out, having their dreams analyzed or undergoing hypnosis with a dangling pocket watch! However, while many therapists do have couches in their office, no one is expected to lay down on it! And while dream analysis and hypnosis are a part of old school psychology, still sometimes used, the overwhelming majority of therapists don’t use those techniques. Most therapists use evidence-based practices that have been proven effective through trial and testing. And while most therapists keep tissues on hand, you are never expected to ball your eyes out! But even if you do, it is totally acceptable and safe for you to do so! In fact, I know several therapists who will weep with you!! I may or may not be including myself in this one;) I’ll keep you guessing!

    MYTH #5: I don’t need therapy, I can fix it on my own.
    Again, this goes back to the training and expertise that a therapist offers. While we all experience stress and have likely all felt sad or even depressed at some point in our life, sometimes we can work through it on our own, and sometimes all the self-help books, blogs, and coffee dates with friends don’t seem to change our stuckness. Sometimes we become stuck in negative patterns that begin to impact all areas of our lives, work, and relationships. Whether you gain insight into the nature of your negative patterns, develop skills for coping or managing stress, or are treated for clinical depression, good therapy can help you achieve that.

    So ultimately, don’t allow your fear to stop you from reaching out for help! And don’t let an inaccurate belief block you from a potentially life-changing experience! If you are struggling with something, today is the day to step toward freedom! Begin your journey now.

    *Just a side-note, if you have tried therapy in the past and had a horrible experience, please don’t assume that all therapy is useless or horrid. The sweet tea doesn’t always taste the same at every Dunkin! But if I needed to spit out the one tea I tasted, I don’t swear off all Dunkin Donuts do I??!! No! I go to a different one;) Not all therapists are created equal! When looking for a therapist, not all may be a good fit for you, and that’s ok! And we understand that, and may even recommend a colleague who may be a better fit for you!



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