There are A LOT of misconceptions when it comes to how therapy works. The unfortunate part is that some individuals miss out of treatment because of fear that these myths are true. Well I am here to tell you about how therapy works and how these misconceptions shouldn't turn you off from seeking help.
1. Price: many people believe that therapy is expensive and that most therapists are unwilling to help their clients in terms of price. In actuality, some therapists have a starting price under $100 and are even willing to provide a sliding scale for clients who are in dire financial need. It is important that when consulting with a potential therapist that you inquire about price and if it is too high, see if they provide a sliding scale or if they have any referrals to outside therapists that might fit your price. Another option is to consider seeking a student clinic. Some universities, like Nova Southeastern University, provide affordable mental health care options. Student therapists and registered interns are required to see supervisors during their journey towards licensure. So they might actually be able to provide more than just their perspective in the therapy room.
2. Stigma: it would be completely dishonest to say that receiving therapy doesn't come with some glaring looks by friends or family, but the road to getting better shouldn't be met with such negativity. And let's be real...you go to the doctor when you don't feel physically well and that is never met with such negative thoughts. So why should seeking a therapist be any different? It is receiving your own mental health check up, and it may be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself.
Keeping your stress and anxiety issues to yourself can only add a negative cycle in your daily life. By speaking with a therapist you can learn the tools needed to help get over your mental hump and can even be useful if this situation comes up again.
3. Couples Therapy: so you are ready to see a therapist and are looking to do couples counseling, but your partner is not up for it. Does that mean you have to give up on therapy? No. Individual therapy may be better suited for you. A therapist would consider doing a couple of sessions with your partner, if they change their mind, which would be great. Be mindful if your partner feels slighted, which can be very common. If they request to see another therapist for couples therapy...this could be a great win! Seeking a mutual party is the best thing you can do. You can still see your current therapist alone, if needed.
4. Misconceptions about your therapist: it is important to do the necessary research when looking for a therapist. You want to find someone who is active in the field, knowledgeable about issues, within your price range (or takes your insurance) and someone you feel comfortable with. Most therapists offer free phone consultations, so take advantage. It isn't going to be a full session but it would allow the therapist to get a sense of the presenting problem and give you the opportunity to feel out your therapist.
Now while you do your research and make your lists of phone calls, make sure you don't miss out on therapists that may be perfect for helping you resolve your issues. Don't get hung up on age, gender, or title. Age is one of the biggest things clients look for in a therapists. There is this idea that the age of your therapist somehow equates to effectiveness. That shouldn't hold you up from seeing a qualified therapist. A younger therapist can provide just as much to you as someone who is seasoned.
5. Length of Therapy: when you think of therapy, how long do you think that process takes? Most individuals would believe that the client/therapist relationship goes on for years. Well...not all therapy sessions take years. As therapists, our hope is to give you the tools you need and ensure that you are more than capable of handling your obstacles in the future in the shortest amount of time. Not that we don't enjoy having clients, but in order to be an effective therapist we must know when therapy is no longer necessary for our clients. My hope when seeing clients, is to see them for 6 - 8 weeks, once a week. Obviously that changes depending on the client, but my hope to help create a unique treatment plan that would allow us to accomplish their goals in an effective and timely manner.
It is also important to note that therapy can't be rushed. Achieving your goals is dependent on the effort and work that you put into it, so don't expect that your therapist is going to fix everything within the first two sessions or that your therapist is going to fix anything at all. There is an intake period in which the therapist gets to know you and all those involved in the process, as well as, the presenting problem. This can take a couple of sessions depending on the
All in all, mental health is something to care for, just like your physical well-being. That should be the MOST important fact that I hope you take from this article. If you have any questions regarding therapy or the therapy process, I recommend contacting a few professionals.
Written by: Jessica Jefferson, Registered Marriage and Family Therapist and Owner of Cloud Nine Therapeutic Services. My passion is working with couples who need assistance in navigating life's transitions such as: newly engaged couples, divorcing couples, and couples becoming new parents. I help them utilize strengths within themselves and their relationship to overcome challenges and find peace.