Common misconceptions about what Talk Therapy is includes ideas such as:
Therapy doesn't work
Therapy is for people with serious mental health issues.
Talking to someone about my problems won’t help me.
I can fix the problem myself.
Once I start going to therapy, I’ll have to go forever.
The problem with these ideas is that it might hinder people from seeking the support that they need in order to improve their happiness, and receive help. This article is meant to clarify some of these ideas in the hopes that it might encourage you to visit a therapist.
Myth 1: Therapy does not work:
You might have asked yourself at some point - how can talking about your problems help solve them ? There are multiple ways to answer this question but knowing more about the different kinds of therapies and how they work to help might be a good place to start.
For example, Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT) teaches you skills and exercises aimed at identifying your thought patterns and challenging them. You can practice these skills even outside of the therapists office meaning that in this process you learn long term coping strategies you can use whenever you encounter a problem.
Myth 2: I don’t need therapy, I can fix it on my own:
The fact is, everyone has experienced stress, anxiety, panic, anxiousness, and a range of emotions at some point of time. It is just a part of being human. While we can sometimes cope with things on our own, therapy helps us notice patterns that we haven’t been able to change on our own, or issues that start to overwhelm us and negatively affect our lives, relationships, and work. In severe cases, anxiety, depression, and stress can put our health and lives at risk.
The key point here is that therapy can bring you faster and better results. Professionally certified therapists are experts in how humans process thoughts and emotions. Whether you want to learn tools to manage stress, build skills to be a better leader, or treat clinical depression, they’ll help you do that. A good therapist is like a coach–a coach for your mind.
Myth 3: therapy is only for the seriously mentally ill:
Anyone can go to therapy, and you don’t have to experience a mental illness to do so. While it is used to help people work through severe problems and conditions, it can also help you build habits and skills for your overall wellbeing and happiness. Do not underestimate these things.
Taking care of your mental health, and being mindful of your emotions can help you catch downward trends in your emotions before they snowball into bigger problems. Therapy can help you develop emotional awareness, emotional resilience, and coping skills, all of which prepare you for hard times before they happen.
Myth 4: It is a waste of time:
Depending on the kind of therapy you choose, it is true that you might end up talking more than your therapist. This is very good. Your therapist’s role is not just to listen. It also includes teaching and guiding.
In listening to you, he or she is able to understand how your unique mind works, and teach you skills suited to your situation and what you need. Moreover, through a process of guided discovery, he or she can ask you questions such that you can clarify your own thoughts and see them through new perspectives.
Myth 5: Once you start therapy, you need to go forever:
You have an option to do long-term or short-term therapy. Short term therapy involves a fixed number of sessions, and is useful in addressing an immediate crisis. These fixed number of sessions are enough to provide you the tools and skills to cope even after therapy is over, hence making this statement false.
Also, as you go through therapy, you are likely going to set some goals with your therapist, and when they are met, you will gradually phase out of therapy.
Therapy is also not one size fits all. There are different types of talk therapies, from psycho-analytic to mindfulness based CBT, interpersonal and humanistic therapies. Finding the therapy and a therapist that serves you well can be a challenge but fun as well. Each of these therapies can offer you some specific skill to deal with a situation that is challenging and help you in your self-growth.