"Maybe I Should Talk to Someone…" Common Questions Regarding Therapy
As therapists, we hear all the reasons why people do not go to therapy or waited so long to begin. But the truth is that psychotherapy, or just "therapy," is a way to help reduce the impact of emotional stressors and improve your overall mental health and wellbeing.
The therapy process focuses on the relationship built between the client and a trained psychotherapist. The relationship, coupled with the therapist's advanced clinical skills, is utilized to explore aspects of the client's life that have been identified as areas for change and growth. Whether it is your first time meeting with a therapist or if you're fully accustomed to therapy and just looking for a change in provider, the process can be intimidating.
This article dives into the themes and reasons that I have heard from people for putting off going to therapy or not going all.
When I have a problem, I go to my family and friends or work on it myself. Why should I bother talking to a therapist?
Although one does not always need a psychotherapist to "fix" problems or overcome obstacles in life, there is always a benefit in having a psychotherapist help you sort through these issues. Psychotherapists are trained to help uncover behavioral patterns, engage in positive inner dialogue, coach you through difficult times, and help you to feel strong enough to overcome your difficulties. Whatever you may be going through, it does not hurt to have an empathetic and trustworthy individual in your life to help you achieve your goals.
Most of us have friends and family that can help us through a difficult time; they are vital to a healthy, thriving existence. Mental health professionals like psychotherapists offer a different, outside, and unbiased perspective that comes from not being emotionally entangled in a client's life.
For example, a therapist is trained to help point out your blind spots that family and friends often don't see or feel uncomfortable addressing because they don't want to hurt your feelings or damage the relationship. It is the therapist's job to help guide you with your best interests and goals in mind. Most importantly, the law requires psychotherapists to keep everything you say confidential; family and friends do not have to keep your secrets.
I'm not sure I need this. Do people go to therapists for "everyday issues," or does everyone who goes have a serious problem in their lives?
There are so many different reasons why individuals, couples, and families seek therapy. The average person who sees a therapist has many "common" problems that everyone struggles with. Clients come to us to discuss everyday issues related to self-esteem, fears and anxiety, career and school, life transitions, depression, loss of a loved one, breakups, problems with anger, to improve communication skills, etc.
The idea that therapy is only for the "mentally ill" is untrue. The reality is many people who seek mental health counseling find that after they begin, they are more resilient, have greater clarity on their thoughts and feelings, and have an improved outlook overall.
Finding a therapist looks like a difficult process. Is there any way to get rid of the stress associated with finding the right psychotherapist?
Although the process of finding the right psychotherapist for you can take some time, it does not necessarily have to be a negative process. Humantold strives to make finding a therapist as painless as possible. If you are thinking of beginning therapy, you can reach out to our intake department to inquire about the process, the available therapists or make an appointment.
Isn't therapy expensive? Finances are a concern for me, and I don't want to spend too much money.
The cost of everyday necessities for the average person can create strain on one's emotional wellbeing. We understand that individuals who seek therapy are looking for help and not to add to their stress by having high out-of-pocket costs.
Humantold has an entire administrative team specializing in insurance and billing, who are more than happy to help clients navigate the murky waters of their insurance plans and determine their copay and fees. If you do not have insurance or if the practice does not accept your insurance particular company, you can reach out to the administrative teams to discuss out-of-pocket fees. We strive to make therapy accessible for all.
I have been to therapy before and I didn't like my therapist. Are all therapists the same?
Many people have been to therapy or have received some sort of counseling in the past. It is common for people to make assumptions on past experiences, but it is false that all psychotherapists are the same.
The field of Psychotherapy is filled with clinicians from different professional and personal backgrounds. When picking a psychotherapist, a potential client has the choice from a variety of individuals. You can choose based on gender, age range, ethnicity, licensure status, specialty, years in practice, amongst many other factors.
Much like dating, you might meet with a few different people until you feel you have found the right fit. It is common for clients to meet with a therapist for a few sessions and then decide they want a different person or style. It is not one size fits all; every therapist brings their own unique blend of themselves and their training to their work. There is someone for everyone!
"And How Does That Make You Feel?" What to Expect From the Therapeutic Process
Will psychotherapists make me take medication?
Medication can only be prescribed by a Psychiatrist, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, or another medical doctor. Although psychotherapists know how medications affect the body, their work focuses on talk therapy and not on the medication prescription process. Psychotherapists often work with clients who are not on any medication, who benefit significantly from only being in therapy.
I'm not sure how long I want to be in therapy. Is there a set amount of time?
The length of therapy varies from person to person, the issues that bring them to therapy, and the mode of therapy they are looking for. Some types of therapy are more short-term, solution-based, while others, like traditional psychoanalysis, can take longer.
Therapy can last anywhere from a few months to over a year or more. When a psychotherapist and client meet for the first time, they discuss the goals that the client would like to work towards over the course of their sessions. They are used as a benchmark to assess progress, which can help determine the length of time one will be in therapy. Although it is human nature to want a "quick fix" for our problems, one must dedicate some time and effort to achieve long-lasting goals.
After a potential client completes the research into finding a therapist, it takes about two sessions to establish goals while the therapist gets to know some of the client's personal history and necessary information. Multiple sessions will allow the client to get to know and trust the therapist. That said, psychotherapists can provide clients with valuable tools and insight in early sessions to help begin improving their thoughts and behaviors.
If I come to couples or family therapy with my partner or family members, will the therapist take a side?
Many therapists work with couples and families to help with interpersonal conflict, improve communication, and achieve common goals. Psychotherapists are unbiased parties in the relationship with clients. The role of an unbiased party is not to pass judgment or choose favorites. Our personal objective is to be fair and impartial to all our clients and use the therapeutic space to help all parties grow.
I feel very vulnerable sharing my feelings with someone. Will a therapist judge me? And will a therapist help me even if they have not been through the same issues as me?
Psychotherapists see a variety of individuals with all different kinds of issues in their life. There are common human experiences that we all share, and we can all understand. Conversely, it is also impossible for every psychotherapist to have experienced every issue that every single client has experienced.
More important than a shared mutual experience is the psychotherapist's ability to empathize with all people regardless of their situation. As far as psychotherapists' perceptions about your issues or problems, it is important to remember that psychotherapists do not judge their clients. We have often heard a lot of the same stories or scenarios already. Psychotherapists study and know human nature. We are prepared to work with all different kinds of individuals with a variety of issues.
Regardless of where you are on your journey in life, we can all use a little guidance or a different perspective from time to time. Whenever you are ready, we are here to help.