Friday, February 12, 2016

Common Misconceptions In Going to a Therapist/Counselor/Psychotherapist

Common Misconceptions of going to a Therapist/Counselor/PsychotherapistThe thought of going to therapy can be scary and perhaps intimidating, which is normal. There are several misconceptions about going to therapy that we would like to outline to hopefully ease some of your anxieties about getting started.

1) You will be expected to lay down on the couch and talk about all your deepest darkest secrets

Most therapist offices these days have a couch (to sit on); or chairs to sit on; and you will usually be sitting facing each other. Trained Psychoanalysts conducting traditional psychoanalysis will have a patient lay down on a couch while the psychoanalyst will be sitting behind him or her listening. That type of therapy is quite different than the general psychotherapy I am referring to in this article. In therapy, you share what you are comfortable with sharing at the given time; the therapist knows to go at a pace you are comfortable with and understands building a relationship that feels safe takes time.

2) Your therapist has all the answers.

Surprise! No training in the world could offer anyone the solutions to every patients problems/concerns. In fact, most well trained therapists rather than give you answers, will help you develop tools and come to your own solutions with his/her help. In addition you can and will learn ways of managing on your own more effectively.

3) Only those who are "crazy" seek therapy.

No. No, and no. Seeking therapy and help for a mental health disorder, crisis, or to improve self in various ways is seen as a strength. It is actually quite brave and healthy (not crazy) to be willing to seek help/therapy. People go to therapy for so many different reasons including relationship concerns, grief/loss,to improve self esteem/confidence, difficulty in decision making, change of life events, and sometimes just to have an objective person to talk with. Often our cultural beliefs, societal, and family beliefs play into our personal beliefs about counseling.

4) I had a bad experience in therapy, why would I bother trying again?

Unfortunately there are times when one might try therapy and find that there is not that "right fit" with the therapist.  It can be painful to start with a therapist, allow yourself to be vulnerable to then find that the counselor you started with is not the best fir for you. Starting over with a new therapist can be difficult, but often significant for your best experience in therapy. Sometimes you might need to check out a few different professionals to find a therapist who will be supportive in a way that is going to be most helpful for you. It does take more energy to do that work, but in the end the right fit can make all the difference and feel worth it.

5) I don't need a therapist...I have friends/family/partner/co-workers to talk to.

Friends are great to have and even better to be able to share with especially when conflicts arise in your personal life. A therapist is an objective person who wants ultimately the best for you and may help you see things about yourself that perhaps your friend is not willing to share with you.

Overall, therapy/counseling can seem like a mysterious experience with a lot of misconceptions out there about the process in general. If you have been considering therapy or feel like you may want to give yourself the opportunity to try to get help reaching out is the first (and big!) step. If you have any questions about our services feel free to contact us as we would be pleased to talk with you. You can reach us at or by calling 240-274-5680 or emailing