Debunking the Myths About Therapy

Recently I wrote a post about therapy geared towards black men and I received a few comments as to why I only wrote it for men and not anyone else. I’m a supporter of EVERYONE seeking help but that post was specifically for black males, stemming from several conversations about men feeling weak or less of a man for seeking help. Since I already had this post about therapy myths in my drafts, I took that as a sign that I needed to go ahead and finish.

Nothing is seriously wrong, I don’t need therapy.

You don’t have to have gone through some major trauma or life event to seek help. Sometimes too many things are happening at once. Maybe you’ve had a major life change. Maybe out of the blue you’ve experienced depression or anxiety. Or you just want a no judgment zone to relax and vent. I remember going to one of my sessions and telling my therapist “I don’t know what to talk about today because I’m actually okay.” and she let me know that “nothing has to be wrong” we can just talk about your day, your goals, or life in general.

Therapy will make me look weak and feel crazy.

I really hate when I hear this. I promise you’ll feel weaker and crazier suppressing your problems for fear of how it will make you look. Keeping everything bottled in and coping with unhealthy mechanisms (drugs, food, alcohol, sex.. etc) will only make you feel worse. There’s nothing weak about seeking professional help with whatever may be going on. Talking to someone about your issues won’t get you a certified crazy stamp across your forehead.

They are just going to diagnose me and place me on meds.

Actually, in my experience therapist try everything BEFORE taking the medicine route. Now I can’t speak for certain diagnoses (bipolar, schizophrenia, etc), but a therapist will try to get to the root of your problems and figure out practical solutions before resorting to medication.

Talking to a complete stranger about my life is weird.

You actually might find that it’s easier to talk to someone who doesn’t know you, your family, or your friends, and has no bias towards any situation you may speak about. You’d be surprised how everything just blurts out like word vomit once you’re settled and comfortable. You’ll think you’ve only been talking for ten minutes when your therapist says “well that’s our time for today.”

All therapists are the same.

So you tried once and the therapist was terrible? He or she was too passive? Maybe they were kind of rude? Or their coping mechanisms might not have been the right fit for you? Try again. You don’t give up dating because you had one bad experience? You don’t stop trying on clothes because the last pair of pants didn’t fit, right? The same goes for a therapist. They are all different, they’ve been through different teachings and different practices and have different mindsets. This is when consultations come in handy to see how good of a fit someone might be for you. Don’t give up hope because of one not-so-great experience.

Therapy is way too expensive.

Yes, therapy can be a lot of money, especially if visiting someone with a private practice but there are several ways to cut the costs. You can go through your health insurance and see what the allotment is for mental health services and what therapists in your area accept your insurance. You can inquire with your company about their Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if one exists. This program will give you a certain amount of free therapy sessions (at no cost to you). My company offers three but every company is different. If you are a student or faculty member at a school, there are programs in place for free counseling with medical students who are obtaining their licenses. You can also opt for group sessions, those are usually less expensive than one-on-one sessions, or you can find a therapist or program that charges based on your income.

It will just make me feel worse.

Yes, your first session will be taxing, maybe even your first few sessions. You will purge. You’ll cry. You will remember things you have long suppressed in the back of your mind. You will realize certain things you thought no longer affect you, still do. But it’s all apart of the healing process and eventually will be for the better. Sidebar story: my first session I remember thinking (in between big ugly cries) “what kind of therapist doesn’t have tissues in their office”, as I continued to cry in between talking. Once the session was over my therapist got up and walked to the other side of the room and I noticed a box of tissues sitting on her desk. I inquired about why she kept them there, away from the couch. She said “to prevent you from stopping the tears. You do enough of that outside of these walls. In here you release it. Let it go.” Man. That really hit me and I was just like “oh.” 

I could go on for days about how beneficial therapy is and can be, but then you’d just stop reading at some point. You don’t have to attend therapy forever and you don’t have to broadcast to the world that you are seeking help. If you are someone who is considering therapy, I challenge you to stop contemplating and taking that first step.

16 Comments

  1. Reply

    Tiffany

    March 29, 2017

  2. Reply

    kemkem

    March 29, 2017

    There is absolutely wrong with seeking help when needed, no matter if it’s a man, woman or child. Sometimes we all just need a helping hand to see things clearly. Absolutely no shame in it. Very good post :-).

  3. Reply

    TC Mason

    March 29, 2017

    This is a good read. Acceptance is one major thing to leave all the myths behind.

  4. Reply

    Keisha Adinkra

    March 30, 2017

    I agree with your responses to these potential questions! I have to credit a therapist years ago for recommending I read the Alchemist, a book which eventually changed my outlook on everything!

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      April 3, 2017

      LOVED that book! I’m actually going to reread it again because I’m sure I missed some gems.

  5. Reply

    feleciamonique88

    March 30, 2017

    I love love love this post! I am a super advocate of therapy especially in the African American community where it has a stigma. Great points that you made as well!

  6. Reply

    Victoria

    March 31, 2017

    Therapy can be great. I have tried it a couple of times for different reasons and found it to be beneficial in most cases. However, before trying it I did think some of the things you mentioned.

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      April 3, 2017

      Unfortunately a lot of people have these same beliefs and never try, kudos to you for trying!

  7. Reply

    Tiffany H.

    March 31, 2017

    Everything you said is true. I think we need to talk more about Mental Heath instead of using the word crazy. People can receive help but don’t have the resources or are simply uninformed. Thanks for bringing awareness to such a serious topic.

  8. Reply

    Latoya Scott (@lifeandabudget)

    March 31, 2017

    Talking your way through something is sometimes the best way to get through it. Therapy definitely has it’s benefits and people should understand that there are several types of therapy too. Like art therapy, music therapy, etc.

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      April 3, 2017

      Yes! I know a few music therapists and it really is great.

  9. Reply

    Jonna

    April 5, 2017

    I honestly would prefer to talk with a therapist about my problems because I don’t know them. They can truly be objective and won’t take anything personal.

  10. Reply

    Michelle Thames

    April 7, 2017

    Therapy is good. I have done it a few times and I need to go back.

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      April 7, 2017

      Same, it’s been a few months since I’ve been so I need to be making my way back really soon!

  11. Reply

    Sara Hunt

    April 10, 2017

    Therapy is healthy. I actually need to go for the first time myself. I have been through a bad breakup of a long term relationship and think confiding in a professional will help me. I have definitely gone back and forth with myself with some of the things mentioned above. Especially the “make me look weak or crazy” aspect.

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      April 10, 2017

      Going to therapy was the best decision I’ve ever made. You should definitely go especially if you’re wrestling with the idea, I promise you won’t look weak or crazy.

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