Mental Health: Discover 6 Common Myths About Psychotherapy

Understanding Mental Health and the Importance of Therapy What is Psychotherapy and Who Needs It? Exploring the Truths Behind Psychotherapy Myths
Cozy and well-decorated therapist's office, ideal for psychotherapy sessions.
  • Does psychotherapy really work?
  • Is there science behind psychotherapy?
  • What to do if psychotherapy does not work?

Before we take shed some light on the 6 common myths about Psychotherapy, lets understand more about mental health.

Seeking help for mental health can be a big step. There are a lot of different reasons why getting psychological help can be scary but part of it still relies on the age-old rumors about it. Mental health is an umbrella term that includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how one thinks, feels and acts. There is no specific age limit to seek help for mental well-being. Maintaining good mental health is important because it can help in other aspects of life like being physically healthy, being productive, being confident and having good relationships.

Mental health has always been given the least importance. It is almost as if it does not exist. Hence, the road to seeking help can be a rocky one. Often, the intimidation of seeking therapy is caused by misconceptions about the process. Even though awareness regarding mental health is increasing, stereotypes and misunderstandings regarding the same still exist.

The rising conversations about these issues need more attention to break the cycle of fear. All the misunderstandings that make it look like therapy is taboo, puts off a person who is about to get the help required. Mental health is as important as physical health. Avoiding medical help in case of physical diseases can make the matter worse. Similarly, stalling the need to seek help from a professional can worsen the already existing issues. All the diseases are to be stopped at the initial stage to prevent damage. This applies to all aspects of your body including your mind.

Now, what is therapy? Therapy as a term means remedial treatment to health problems. Therapy for mental health is also curative as the term suggests. The form of therapy required for mental well-being is called psychotherapy. The nature of therapy for mental health is almost always drawn from its portrayal in movies and TV shows. This has caused people to become afraid to seek the needed help. Each individual is different. Just like how everybody is different, every mind is also different. Something that is small for you may not be small for the next person. It is important to be patient with yourself and others while recognizing that therapy may just be the help you need.

The light in which therapy has been portrayed in the past on media makes it seem like a taboo. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking the required treatment.

Below are 6 common myths about therapy.

1. Psychotherapy is for rich people

This does not make sense at all. Therapy is for everyone who needs it. Would going to a doctor for flu be generalized based on the financial background? No, Similarly therapy is also a treatment that can be accessed by everyone irrespective of age, class, and gender. Stress is a common factor in everyone’s lives, be it a student or a laborer. Besides this, therapy is not expensive either. It needs to be accessed by all, just like any other medical help. Therapy is affordable and open to all.

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2. Only crazy people need therapy

The stigma around therapy is real. But the reality is that therapy is helpful for anyone and everyone. It is a tool to help us understand ourselves better. To illuminate our blind spots that come in the way of us achieving our potential professionally and causing us to not be able to build and maintain deep relationships. It allows us to explore our daily struggles and with professional guidance, overcome them.

3. Psychotherapy means medication

It is absolutely false. Therapy does not involve medications. Psychotherapy is a form of talk therapy that helps people with varied mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. Medications have no role to play in therapy.

4. One or two sessions are enough

Considering therapy is a very unique experience that is curated by the therapist to best fit your unique needs, it is essential the therapist gets to know you deeply. Due to this, while one or two sessions may feel very illuminating at times, they are not enough to break year-long patterns that become an integral part of our personalities. On the other hand, the first few sessions may come across as an interview, but that is only because for the therapist to help you, they need to know your unique story.

5. Psychotherapy is for the weak

For somebody to ask for help in anything is actually a sign of great strength. It requires one to be reflective enough to know that they may be struggling and brave enough to acknowledge that we are all in fact imperfect- which is the beauty of being human. All of us have our strengths and weaknesses, and by no means is one struggle looked at as bigger/more important than another.

Therapy helps you identify your unique strengths (yes we all have them) and helps identifies why certain things may feel like a weakness/struggle to you. By no means does seeking help and clarity determine your capabilities. You reaching out for help already shows a degree of strength and awareness inside you!

6. Talking to a friend or a family member is the same as psychotherapy.

The relationship between you and your psychologist is different from any other relationship. It is not a personal reciprocating relationship.

While therapy is also a two-way street with equal efforts from the therapist as well as client, therapists are trained individuals who hear for things that you may not be aware of, that are then reflected back to you in a safe and contained way that allows you to gain new perspectives, for your advantage. It also provides clients with tools to then deal with the hurdles that are discovered along the way.

Confidentiality and anonymity are two key features that allow therapy to work and for clients to share with their therapist things they would not with friends or family. The focus of the therapeutic space is you, and therapists are trained to ensure the sanctity of that. Therapy is a process that allows you to break unhelpful patterns that we all, as human beings, develop at various points in our life, which may in the present day be a hindrance to living a fulfilling life.

Frequently asked question

  1. Does psychotherapy really work?
    Yes, psychotherapy has been shown to be effective for a wide range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, trauma, and relationship problems, among others. The success of psychotherapy depends on several factors, including the type of therapy, the skill of the therapist, and the willingness and involvement of the client. Research shows that psychotherapy can lead to significant improvements in well-being and quality of life, and in many cases, its effects are long-lasting.
  2. Is there science behind psychotherapy?

    Absolutely. Psychotherapy is supported by a substantial body of scientific research that examines its effectiveness across various conditions and populations. Different therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, and interpersonal therapy, have been rigorously studied in clinical trials. These studies assess the outcomes of therapy using various methodologies, including randomized controlled trials (RCTs), which are considered the gold standard in medical research. The research not only supports the effectiveness of psychotherapy but also helps refine therapeutic techniques to enhance their efficacy.
  3. What to do if psychotherapy does not work?

    If someone feels that psychotherapy is not working, there are several steps they can take:
  • Discuss concerns with the therapist: Often, open communication can lead to adjustments in the therapeutic approach that might better suit the client’s needs.
  • Consider a different therapist or therapy type: Not every therapist will be the right fit for every client, and not all therapeutic approaches work equally well for all conditions. It might be beneficial to explore other therapists or different types of therapy.
  • Evaluate other treatment options: In some cases, combining psychotherapy with medication or other treatments like exercise, diet changes, or mindfulness techniques might be more effective.
  • Seek a second opinion: Consulting another mental health professional can provide a new perspective and additional options for effective treatment.
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