The way we view mental health has changed a lot of over the recent years, but there still seems to be a lot of stigma around seeking therapy. It’s important to highlight the benefits and clarify many of the misconceptions that people seem to have.
Living in a fast-paced world filled with stressors and anxiety around every corner, attending therapy should not be viewed as exclusively for those struggling with a disorder. We need to debunk the whole “Therapy is for crazy people!” myth.
So, who exactly is therapy for? Everyone! That’s right, anyone would benefit from seeing a licensed professional once a week to talk about their day-to-day challenges. Psychologist and writer, Ryan Howes, Ph.D., states that “The benefits of therapy extend far beyond periods of crisis. Many people want more than to be ‘not depressed.’ They wonder what they can do to be the happiest, most productive, most loving version of themselves.”
Therapy serves as a great way to engage in self-exploration to increase self-awareness, gain perspective, and enhance communication patterns. It also helps us identify maladaptive coping strategies and replace them with positive ones. Every single person would benefit from experiencing therapy at some point in their lives.
Many people struggle with high functioning anxiety and depression and never seek help because their symptoms are not debilitating enough. They may even choose not to recognize their symptoms or speak about them for fear of seeming “imperfect” in any way. These people can be athletes, doctors, CEO’s, and the list goes on.
Though we have come a long way in terms of how we view attending therapy as a society, there still seems to be considerable stigmatization around the topic. The stigmatization tends to vary amongst different cultures and socioeconomic groups, but it still exists primarily due to a lack of information. It’s important to clarify the misconceptions and highlight the benefits of seeking therapy.
It can be really difficult to talk about struggling with mental health issues of any severity for fear of being judged. The hope is to open the dialogue around these matters so that we don’t view them as personal failures, but rather normal struggles that can happen to anyone in life.
Therapy is incredibly effective but it is not magic! Attending one session will not give you all the answers you’ve been looking for. It’s important to remember going in that it is a process, one that will take some time. This doesn’t mean attending therapy in an open-ended fashion for years and never seeing results, but there are many effective and efficient models created for short-term treatment.
Many could also argue that being able to go to therapy is a privilege that not everyone could afford. While that may be a valid point, there are also many agencies that offer therapeutic services on a sliding scale for those who cannot financially afford therapy on their own.
Airport Marina Counseling Service and Southern California Counseling Center are two such agencies located in Los Angeles. Many of these centers are also open 7 days a week to accommodate working people’s schedules. You can also visit PsychologyToday to find a therapist in your area. Everyone can benefit from therapy and there are many options available that are making therapy more and more accessible.