The Therapy Stigma
The stigma and shame that often surround therapy have resulted from a misrepresentation about what therapy is and how we’ve been taught to perceive it. When many people think of therapy, they think of a person on a couch talking about their problems with a therapist responding, “and how do you feel about that?”
Many people still think therapists are paid tons of money to listen to someone complain about issues with little regard to action or progress. Feelings of embarrassment, shame and failure still surround therapy hindering many from getting the help they need.
If you feel the need to see a therapist but feel ashamed or like your family will disapprove, realize that the negative stigma is simply a perspective that we’ve subscribed to. Do not let this stigma limit you from doing what could be the best decision you make in your life.
It’s NOT a bad thing!
Therapy and counseling is never a bad thing. When someone makes a decision to see a therapist, they are making the cognitive choice to seek improvements in their life – and how could that be a bad thing or something to be ashamed of? Putting your needs and health first is something to be proud of – it can only lead to improvements in your personal life, career, and make you better suited to help others.
Reframe the way you think of counseling. Talking to a therapist is like talking to an unbiased friend – it’s an outside observer who listens to you with empathy and respect. It’s a trained counselor whose job is to help you identify and work through emotions so that you can move forward and live the best life you can.
Instead of giving you advice or telling you what “you should do”, they offer an open mind and a listening ear. This gives you comfort and security to speak openly without the fear of feeling judged. Therapy is a freeing and liberating forum that can help you push through issues to create a better life for yourself.
What Therapy DOESN’T mean…
Seeing a therapist is not a negative thing – it is nothing to be ashamed of, it does not mean you’re unstable or flawed, it does not mean you need medication or need to “toughen up”. These are all myths commonly associated with therapy, but it’s your choice to perceive therapy as a positive and brave thing.
Remember that everyone you look at is going through a battle you know nothing about. Nobody is perfect and nobody is leading a perfect life. We could all use some help and that is nothing to be ashamed of.
Change Your Perspective
When searching for a therapist, be patient. Each therapist has their own approach so if you don’t click with one, take the time to find another you are more comfortable with.
It’s human nature to need to speak to other people, to communicate what is going on and to confide in others. Therapy is about confiding in a person that will never judge you for what you are feeling or experiencing.
Going to a counselor is one of the most liberating and freeing experiences you can have if you allow it to be. Change your perspective towards therapy, disregard that negative stigma and think of therapy with a positive connotation. Nobody is perfect, we all go through things in life. It’s not about what happens to us but how we handle it that matters. Counseling can not only help you discover aspects of yourself that will make you a better person, but will help you to handle the situations, experiences, and people in your life in a much more beneficial way.