October 11th, 2020
“I’m just having a bit of a tough time, I don’t need therapy”
- Social Anxiety
- Grief and Bereavement
In the past 5 - 10 years, there has been a definite shrinking of the stigma surrounding mental health. We have become better at talking about how we’re feeling and encouraging our friends and family to do the same.
However, whilst steps have been taken in the right direction, the idea of therapy is still something that many find too far outside of their comfort zone. Aside from the valid concerns about price and accessibility, there is a hesitance to seriously consider therapy, even if they are not satisfied with their mental health.
There are many misconceptions about what therapy is and is for - and this may hold people back from seeking psychological interventions. Some people can be worried that by deciding to have therapy they will appear ‘crazy’ or as if there is something severely wrong with them. Alternatively, people may think their problems are not serious enough to warrant help.
In reality, therapy is used for a wide range of issues - treating an array of mental health conditions with varying levels of severity, as well as helping people with the challenges life throws at them. Whilst some require more immediate support, many people that choose to have therapy simply want to get the most out of their lives.
There is no real ‘bad reason’ to decide to try therapy. If there’s a part of you that thinks you might benefit from it, then it’s worth trying - simple as that. You have recognised that there are elements of your life that you would like to see improvement in and whether they are huge or minor, therapy can help you achieve that.
When catching up with 5 of our therapists earlier this year on misconceptions around therapy, our Clinical Director Dr Nicky Hartigan made a very apt comparison: “If you think about how we view our physical health, we don’t tend to leave things to the point of crisis. If we were in pain, we’d probably notice and do something about it. If we were finding ourselves eating McDonald’s every night, we’d probably notice and do something about it.
For whatever reason, we don’t always apply the same process to our mental health. We think we have to wait until we are really in trouble before we consider speaking to a professional when actually, just as with physical health, catching things early on would be far better for us.”
There’s no fixed timeline
Another important point to remember is that if you decide to try therapy, you’re not signing yourself up for a weekly session for the rest of your life. Whilst some will opt for longer-term treatment, this should not be viewed as the norm. In fact, therapists point out that there are times when they will recommend ending therapy.
CBT therapist Dr Ekta Mansukhani told us earlier this year “endings can be challenging but there are circumstances in which people can become a little bit dependent on therapy. My door is always open, but there are times when I say to people that continuing with therapy wouldn’t be in their best interest as they need to use the skills they’ve learnt on their own. We can always review after a short period, but people shouldn’t think of therapy as something that never ends.”
For many, a handful of sessions can give them everything they need to approach life in a different way and cause the improvements they want to see. There are even some modern approaches which state that just one session can be hugely beneficial.
Sometimes a good long chat with someone close to you can have the world of difference on your mental health. So can exercise, new activities and a whole host of other things. Therapy is there for when these options are unavailable or are not having the desired effect.
If it still seems a bit daunting to you, try to remember the following:
- The only thing having therapy says about you is that you want to get the most out of your life. It is a positive, willful change, not a weakness.
- There is no reason anyone needs to know you’re having therapy anyway. Online therapy enables you to speak to someone at a time and place private to you.
- There’s no harm in trying it. If you give it a go once and don’t think you’re ready for it, what have you lost? Considerably less than you potentially stand to gain.
If you’re interested in trying therapy, message us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk you through how it works.