Common Myths about Psychotherapy:
Only crazy people go to psychotherapy.
Untrue. People seek psychotherapy for a range of reasons in everyday life.
Some pursue psychotherapy for treatment of depression, anxiety or substance abuse. But others want help coping with major life transitions: the loss of a job, a divorce or the death of a loved one. Yet others need help managing and balancing the demands of parenting, work and family responsibilities, improving relationship skills or managing other stressors that can affect just about all of us. Moreover,
some emotional stressors appear as physical symptoms (stomach pain, chest pain, leg pain, and so on).
Anyone can benefit from psychotherapy to become a better problem solver.
You can get better on your own if you just try hard enough and keep a positive attitude.
Many people have tried to solve their problems on their own for weeks, months or even years before starting psychotherapy but have found that that it’s not enough. Deciding to start psychotherapy doesn't mean you’ve failed, just like it doesn't mean you’ve failed if you can't repair your own car. In reality, having the courage to reach out and admit you need help is a sign of strength rather than weakness — and the first step toward feeling better.
Talking to family members or friends is just as effective as going to a psychologist.
Support from family and friends you can trust is important when you're having a hard time. But a psychologist can offer much more than talking to family and friends. Psychologists have years of specialized education, training and experience that make them experts in understanding and treating complex problems. And research shows that psychotherapy is effective and helpful. The techniques a psychologist uses during psychotherapy are developed over decades of research and more than “just talking and listening.”
A psychologist will just blame all your problems on your parents or your childhood experiences.
One component of psychotherapy might entail exploring childhood experiences and significant events impacting your life. Relating information from your family background can help you and your psychologist understand your perceptions and feelings, current coping strategies, or see patterns that developed. The point of wanting you to look backward is to better understand your present and make positive changes for the future. However, in some instances your psychologist will choose to focus mainly on the current problem or crisis that brought you into treatment and not delve into your past at all.
You’ll need to stay in psychotherapy for many years or even the rest of your life.
Everyone moves at a different pace during psychotherapy — it’s a very individualized process. In CBT, therapy usually takes from 10-15 sessions.
Psychologists just listen to you vent, so why pay someone to listen to you complain?
A psychologist will often begin the process of psychotherapy by asking you to describe the problem that has brought you into his or her office. But that's just psychotherapy's starting point. Psychotherapy is typically an interactive, collaborative process based on dialogue and the patient's active engagement in joint problem-solving.
Your psychologist may give you tasks so that you can practice new skills between sessions or reading assignments so that you can learn more about a particular topic. Together you and your psychologist will identify problems, set goals and monitor your progress.
Psychotherapy is Too Expensive
It is true that psychotherapy can often be quite costly. This is both because good psychotherapists need a lot of training, and because psychotherapy by nature is a very time and labor intensive process.
When it comes time to consider whether therapy is really worth the expense, it is often helpful to consider the value you place on living a life of greater self-knowledge and awareness.
If you value living a more conscious and a happier and healthier life, you will feel less hesitant to see it as a worthwhile investment and will almost always be able to find room within your budget to see a psychotherapist.