5 Misconceptions About Psychotherapy
According to the American Psychiatric Association, more than half of people with mental illness don’t receive help for their disorders. Stigma and misconceptions about psychotherapy reduce the likelihood of getting treatment.
Psychotherapy is no longer some mysterious, ambiguous process where you lie down on a couch with an analyst taking copious notes while sitting behind you. Instead, psychotherapy is a research-driven treatment process that involves collaboration and an interactive approach for best outcomes.
So, that are some of the most common misconceptions about therapy and what is the truth?
1. Psychotherapy is only for people with mental illness.
Absolutely incorrect. Yes, psychotherapy is beneficial to people diagnosed with a mental illness. However, there are a plethora of reasons that people seek psychotherapy from assertiveness training to improving self-esteem to coping with a major life change. If you are discontent with your current state or there is something you would like to change about yourself, then that’s a good reason to consider psychotherapy.
2. It’s inconvenient. I don’t have time.
The pandemic has changed how we access healthcare. Telehealth is a much more convenient way to obtain psychotherapy. Teletherapy refers to therapy delivered through technology like video conference. For most people with a cell phone, telehealth is an option. Telehealth means that a 45-minute therapy session takes only 45 minutes. No commute. No time looking for a parking spot. It’s possible to have a therapy session during your lunch break and from the convenience and comfort of your own home.
3. Therapists want you in therapy forever.
That’s just not true. The best type of loss, for a therapist, is when a patient has achieved their goals for therapy. The duration and pace of treatment is individualized based on your struggles and your goals. But a therapist wants nothing more than to empower you to function optimally on your own. I say to my patients, “No offense but I don’t want to be in your life forever.”
4. You just talk about your childhood and blame your parents.
While there are some forms of psychotherapy, primarily psychoanalysis, focuses on a person’s past, more modern forms of psychotherapy including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are more present-focused and solution-based. Depending of your treatment goals, it may be useful to talk about your childhood (your life story and history helps the therapist understand your perspectives, feelings, and current coping tactics) but that does not have to be the focus of every session.
5. It’s just talking. I can do that with a friend.
It is important to have a social network, but the relationship between a therapist and client differs from other relationships. Therapy can provide the same cathartic benefit of a chat with a friend, but then it goes deeper. A psychologist has years of specialized education and training that make them experts at recognizing thoughts and behavior patterns that are contributing to your problems and then teach you coping skills to correct these patterns. While reassurance from a friend feels good, it is not a sufficient or lasting solution.
Making the decision to go to therapy can be life-changing and, in some cases, life shaving. Don’t let misconceptions about therapy prevent you from seeking help.
Contact Dr. Beverly Pedroche now to inquire about availability.
Author: Dr. Beverly Pedroche