How many times have we talked about therapy in rooms with doors closed, in hushed whispers while eating lunch, in low-tone conversations on the phone, in confusion, in regret, in shame, and stigma? The answer would be simple- far too many times. So at a time of retrospection such as the current one brought to us by a deadly virus, we must ask ourselves the strenuous questions to find the right answers.
Isn’t it time we normalize the discussion around therapy to the point where nobody bats an eye when someone says, “Yes, I booked my appointment with my therapist this Tuesday. I’ll address this issue there.”
While we have started to have discussions on “positive energy” and “self-care” on social media translated into real life, we still haven’t broached the major myths that continue to revolve in our society due to past prejudices centered around the word therapy.
Therapy is only for those who cannot fix their problems on their own
Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t anything wrong with talking to a medical professional who’s trained in their field for years together, to address your problems.
If we had a stomach ache when we were children, we would have been taken to a general physician or a family general practitioner to make sure everything’s alright. But it was also to be assured by someone who had trained, experienced, and studied people’s health systems thoroughly and to be reassured that we will get better and it’s going to be okay.
If we had a problem that was bothering us and disturbing our mental balance, would asking for some reassurance from a professional who knows what they’re doing be that terrible? It would calm some of the anxiety around the issue just by addressing it in a professional space.
Therapy is far too expensive and out of my budget
We understand why everyone feels this way. Most insurance companies don’t cover bills for mental health most of the time. The rates for psychologists and psychiatrists always seem to spook people with the immediate thought that they can’t afford to get help at all.
But this isn’t true. Affordable therapy is right around the corner in this day and age.
Today, online therapy services provided by companies such as BetterHelp make therapy accessible to anyone who may need it, while keeping it affordable as well. Depending on if online therapy is right for you or not, it may be worth seeing if this is a form of therapy that works for you.
If we want to reach out and find some help, it’s always right around the corner. In this particular scenario, it is a call or an appointment away. Sometimes all we need is to be pointed in the right direction to know where to look.
Seeking therapy is a sign of weakness
This is one of the biggest misconceptions around therapy practice. If someone reached out to a professional to seek help on a particular issue, that in turn signifies weakness of their character or their mind in one way or another.
This is a contradictory lie. Seeking help is a sign of strength. It indicates that we’ve identified a problem, found someone who might help us find a solution, and work on it consciously until it grows manageable or completely disappears altogether.
If someone sought help for a broken limb and needed to be realigned, we wouldn’t scoff at going to the people who could help us fix the broken limb.
In the same way, when someone seeks help to realign their thoughts, remember to be kind. They had the strength to ask for a hand before it grew calamitous.
Some problems aren’t “crazy” enough to require a therapist
A common misconception is that one can resolve all their problems by simply talking about them to a friend or family member. Or that these problems don’t reflect enough of a “crazy” mindset to seek help from a therapist. However, a therapist is best qualified to offer reflective insights, unconditional support, and an outsider’s perspective that neither a friend nor family member can objectively give.
And the statement on how a few problems just aren’t terrible enough or that we aren’t “crazy” enough to require a therapist is just another misconception.
People often say they don’t need therapy because they aren’t crazy, however, contrary to this belief, one doesn’t need to be “crazy” or even seriously suffering from mental breakdowns or trauma to visit a therapist. Going to therapy is a way to keep one’s mental health in check and ensure that we deal with our everyday stressors more effectively. It also helps people learn more about themselves and reflect on their life as it is.
We aren’t required to have unbearable devastating problems to get ourselves to a therapist’s office. Finding a way to deal with issues from an outside perspective is one of the easiest ways to describe therapy.
Thus, these are some of the blockades that prevent us from talking about therapy in public or from seeking the assistance that we may need.
Conversations about therapy are being brought into the public sphere through the use of several media outlets but misconceptions were previously sown by the media as well.
So be sure to remember that if some information is the need of the hour, all that needs to be done is finding a way to approach a professional. The internet is a wonderful source and portal most of the time but it can also be misleading. As therapy is a taboo concept in India even today, most information available through these sources is heavily biased and so, to avoid being misled it is always best to educate ourselves on these topics from reliable sources, preferably a professional in the field.
Be bold. Be one of the growing many to take the first step to bring this conversation public. And if we do it responsibly, we will be able to witness better results in society in the future.