#Askingforafriend: Myths about therapy
By Elizabeth Kendall
GCU Office of Student Care
Misconceptions are one of the main reasons some people won’t do therapy. Let’s debunk some of those myths now.
Myth: People who go to therapy are crazy. I’m just stressed out.
Truth: Therapy is for everybody. The vast majority of people who attend therapy are seeking support to learn to deal with a stressor, either current or long term. During therapy, clients learn to identify the thought processes and behaviors that aren’t working for them and figure out, with the therapist’s help, how to restructure them and create more helpful habits.
Myth: Going to therapy means I’m weak. I should be able to handle this on my own.
Truth: Attending therapy takes courage and vulnerability. There are several resources that we use daily to “handle” life. This includes our teachers, friends, family, hobbies, exercise, etc. Therapy is one of these resources. You would lead your treatment by coming up with goals, choosing the direction and ultimately making changes. Therapists will be there throughout to provide an unbiased perspective and new techniques you can choose to utilize. It takes strength and wisdom to recognize your needs and to seek out the resources to meet them.
Myth: If I go to therapy, I’m going to be talking all about the past. I don’t want to focus on my childhood.
Truth: Family origins may come up in a session, especially if they are directly impacting current issues. However, you and your therapist eventually will find yourselves back in the present because the main goals of therapy are to improve your current situation and prepare you to handle future challenging events.
Myth: I’ve tried therapy before and it didn’t help, so it won’t now.
Truth: It’s natural to be skeptical if past experiences were unhelpful. Think about the different factors of your previous counseling and where you are presently. This includes your motivation to change, different circumstantial events (job, school, health, etc.) and your relationship with your previous therapist. Therapists are all different with a variety of approaches, and you may need to shop around for your best fit.
Myth: People have it way worse than me. If they’re able to deal with it, I should be able to get over this.
Truth: Others’ misfortunes do not take away the reality that something in your life is impacting your ability to be the best version of yourself. Therapy is a place to talk about homesickness, grief, difficulty with relationships, anxiety, depression, body image and all sorts of other things that are impacting your functioning in your personal and professional life. Therapy also can be a place to practice maintaining the good things you have going. There are no qualifications to get started.
One of the best ways to figure out the truth is to head to the source. So we hope you’ll check out the GCU Office of Student Care or a local provider to uncover the exciting unknowns of therapy.