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Breaking Common Stereotypes About Therapy by Norehan Aly, MA.

There are so many stereotypes about everything and if we live by them, then we won’t be able to actually live fulfilling lives.

There are countless stereotypes about mental and emotional health, almost as if the mind and emotions are unnatural to humans.

#1. Therapy is for weak people.

Just because you are in therapy, it does not mean you are broken.

Just because you are considering to go to therapy, it does not mean you are weak or attention-seeking!

Going to therapy is one of the bravest steps you can take in your life. For most people, it is not easy to come to terms with asking for help, nor is it easy to acknowledge parts of you that you may not like. There is a great deal of strength in opening up, trusting yourself and your therapist, and allowing yourself to sit with those uncomfortable emotions. Attending therapy is a journey that takes real strength, courage and bravery, it is definitely not for the “weak.”

#2. Therapy is for rich people that don’t know what to do with their money.

Therapy is an investment of time, energy and money. While therapy is known to be expensive, most therapists and counseling centers can provide discounted session fees, respectively. If you cannot afford a therapist’s respected fee for any reason, just discuss it with your therapist. In some cases, therapists also provide free of charge sessions. The whole point of therapy is to improve your mental health and that is your respected therapist’s priority.

#3. A therapist is just a paid friend.

While the therapeutic process requires vulnerability and sharing one’s innermost thoughts, feelings and memories with the therapist, the therapeutic relationship is not a friendship whatsoever. It is easy to feel comfortable and be yourself around a therapist, as s/he provide a nonjudgmental atmosphere, yet that is far from a friendship. Clients and therapists are humans alike, and although they may share laughs and cries together, it is all done within a professional context. The therapeutic relationship entails a unique combination of humane moments within professional bounds. A client and therapist focus on the client only, they don't talk about the therapist’s life, gossip, go out for lunch, or visit one another’s homes. Rather, the therapeutic relationship is a professional one that consists of a strong alliance for a single cause: to improve the mental health of the client in a safe space.

#4. Therapy is a joke.

Therapy is not a joke or a scam. Most therapeutic theories and interventions are empirically supported. That means a qualified therapist or counselor will use effective interventions that are proven to be effective in most cases, based on research. However, there is a disclaimer that the human psyche is complex and what may work for someone may not work for someone else. That does not necessarily mean that therapy is a joke, rather it means that therapy is not a one-size fits all approach. There are also other factors to consider, such as client readiness, abilities and how strong the therapeutic alliance is. It is best to discuss with your therapist or counselor any concerns you may have about the therapeutic approach that is best for you.

#5. Therapy is for times of crisis.

Therapy is essential to help those experiencing a major life event, such as grieving a loss, suffering an illness, suffering the aftermath of a natural disaster or going through divorce. However, therapy is not just for those reasons. One can go to therapy simply to get to know or understand oneself, deal with emotions, anxiety, recurring thoughts, or to learn social skills. You do not need a compelling reason to go on a personal development journey. However, you do need a specific goal to work towards with your counselor, which can be mutually developed in the first session.

The truth of the matter is, therapy is for everybody. Popular stigma about mental health dates back since life spread. We are all human. Humans are not perfect. Therefore, nobody is perfect and we all have parts of ourselves we may need help embracing. If you feel like you need therapy, do not allow those stereotypes to get to you. A stereotype is a misrepresentation, and stereotypes about therapy are no different. Approach therapy with an open mind and you can get the most out of it to live a more authentic life.


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