The topic of therapy has historically been linked to stigma in our society. People were often uncomfortable seeking out or even discussing therapy because of the stigma attached to it. What it “means” to be in therapy. As a result, there are still some fairly big misconceptions about therapy. We at Cohesive Therapy NYC want to bring these important discussions to the forefront.
Here are 3 of the most common misconceptions about therapy. We hope these will help you to feel more comfortable reaching out and getting the help you deserve.
Misconception #1: It’s Just Like Talking to Your Friend
Friends listen to and support you, but they aren’t equipped to offer real solutions. Therapists, on the other hand, are uniquely qualified to help you by offering more than just good advice.
Therapists are trained to have a deeper understanding of human nature and the way the brain works.
They can help you to recognize your own behavioral and thinking patterns. They can offer tools so that you can better manage the challenges in your life.
Therapy can lead you to a fresh perspective on the events of your life and the choices you make. It can teach you to address your thoughts in a different way. Therapy is a safe, confidential, and non-judgmental environment. In therapy, you can build on your existing strengths, while learning new ways to cope with your life stressors.
Having a strong support system of friends/family who you can talk to is incredibly beneficial. Therapy is about processing your experiences while also enhancing the way you perceive and interact with the world.
Even when we have supportive people in our lives, many of us worry about being a “burden”. We may have difficulty opening up or talking about our problems. But, therapy is confidential. Your therapist’s only interest/goal is to help you improve yourself and overcome your challenges. Therefore, it is generally easier opening up to them.
Misconception #2: Therapy is About Blaming Your Parents for Problems or Dwelling on the Past
One of the common misconceptions about therapy is that it’s just 45-60 minutes each week spent blaming parents for all their problems. Others may believe it focuses too much on past experiences that aren’t doing anything to help present problems.
The reality is that therapy isn’t about playing the blame game. However, therapists do have to look at a client’s history to get a clear picture of their experiences and patterns. While your past does not define you, it does give us a roadmap of how you got here, how your self-perceptions were created, and a basis for how to learn and move forward from those internalized beliefs that may not even be yours, to begin with! How’s that for something to dig into further?
Many people new to therapy may not want to spend any time “wallowing in the past,”. They must understand, however, that the first phase of therapy is to gather information. A therapist asks questions about your history to understand the way you cope, think, perceive, and interact with your environment.
It is very tempting to first target symptoms and focus on solutions, this part of the therapy process is incredibly important and will enhance your success in more solution-focused therapy.
Past experiences profoundly impact our personalities, the way we think, and how we react to stressors. Therefore, it is important for you to delve into your history to develop a better understanding of how your primary caregivers and experiences in childhood impact you in adulthood.
Misconception #3: You’ll Start to Feel Better Immediately
Many people fall into the common misconception when they’re new to therapy that they’ll be cured after their first visit.
They then make the mistake of quitting when they don’t feel better after a few sessions. The truth is, it will take a few sessions just to tell your story and to start developing a relationship and a sense of trust with your therapist. Therapy shouldn’t be thought of as a quick fix, but instead a process that is unique to each individual.
Sometimes discussing your problems and processing your experiences may make you feel more anxious or stressed in the short term. It can be really challenging to delve deeper into what you are going through and it takes hard work to try to make change in your life. But it is important to understand that while the process doesn’t always feel good, it will be completely worthwhile in the end.