Seeking out therapy is a really big decision, and it takes a lot of guts to actually look for help. Even though there are multiple different types of therapy that suit different people, many of us are actually afraid to go to a therapy session for one reason or another.
Going to therapy can be a daunting experience and, for some, it can be a really isolating time in their life. Even though they’re going to be connecting with somebody who (presumably should) understand what they’re going to, it really does make some people feel more alone at first. There are a number of reasons why people might be afraid to go to therapy, but here are three main factors that prevent people from seeking out the help they deserve.
Fear Of Diagnosis
One of the biggest reasons why people are scared to go to therapy is because they’re simply afraid of what they’re going to hear once they get there. So many people are frightened of being diagnosed with a mental illness because they’re worried that it’s somewhat of a life-sentence. People are scared that if they get diagnosed with something, they’re never going to experience life without it. But this isn’t the case.
The vast majority of mental illnesses can be recovered from, meaning that it’s not a life-sentence at all! In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that approximately 70% to 90% of people who seek out psychological treatment actually do recover. If anything, that should put your mind at ease that you’re not going to be stuck in the same position – or necessarily the same mindset – forever.
For some of us, getting a diagnosis feels like a huge validation as to how we’re feeling. When we’re given the label, everything else seems to make a lot more sense and fall into place. But this isn’t the reality for a lot of people. Instead, getting a diagnosis can actually make them feel worse because society has programmed them to believe that it means there’s something inherently wrong with them. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, but the fear of diagnosis remains.
Fear Of Stigma
Similarly, the fear of the stigma surrounding a diagnosis also plays a big part in whether people seek out help or not. There’s the common misconception that those who seek out therapy are ‘weak’ or ‘crazy’ or ‘unable to handle their own problems’. This isn’t true, and it never has been. People are worried that, if they happen to go to therapy and somebody finds out, then they’re going to be labelled as ‘wrong’.
This is unfortunately a worry that a lot of people still have, considering that quite a few people still tell others to ‘deal’ with their problems on their own. I personally know how frightening the idea of therapy can be, because, for some of us, we don’t want to make it seem like we’re any ‘weaker’ than what people expect.
However, the reality is that therapy doesn’t make you weak at all. Instead, I would actually say that it makes you even stronger than the next person, because seeking out help is so hard. It’s also true that going to therapy is never a bad thing, and people go for all different types of reasons. Even if they don’t necessarily have a diagnosis or a mental disorder, some people will simply go to become more self-aware.
Fear Of Judgement
Many of us are actually also frightened of being judged by the therapist that we’re talking to. We either think that they’re not going to understand, they’re simply not interested, or they’re not going to give us the time of day. I’ve had some bad experiences with psychiatrists and I can tell you that this only fuels the idea that we’re going to be judged and misunderstood.
While there are some therapists that just aren’t going cut it, it’s important to remember that a good therapist isn’t going to judge you. Instead, it’s their job to create a welcoming, understanding environment that you feel comfortable in. If they’re making you feel as if they’re judging every word you say, then they aren’t succeeding at their role as a therapist at all.
Trusting your therapist takes a lot of work, but it’s one of the most important elements of the relationship. Your therapist is meant to be there to make you feel as if you can confide in somebody who understands, rather than feeling like you’re talking to a brick wall. Even though this fear is common and understandable, keep in mind that it’s their job to be nonjudgemental and, if they’re not, then that’s not your fault.
Being afraid of therapy is a very usual and common issue, but it’s important that you don’t let it discourage you from seeking help. If you need to talk to somebody but you can’t do so in person, why not try a site like 7 Cups Of Tea?
Are there any other fears that you or people you know have about going to therapy? How have you coped with them?