6 Misconceptions About Seeing a Therapist

Though psychology has been around since the late 1800s, there is still a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding surrounding the practice of psychotherapy. The notion that everyone who sees a therapist is crazy is just one of the many misconceptions people still have about therapy. If your only source of knowledge in counseling comes from watching movies or Dr. Phil, then prepare to be pleasantly surprised. Here are six common misconceptions about seeing a therapist.

  1. Only “crazy” people go to therapy:

    This one is just plain wrong. It’s the people who refuse to go to therapy who are “crazy.” Kidding. But in all seriousness, you don’t have to be mentally disturbed, depressed, or suicidal to seek counseling. Therapists see patients for various conditions and concerns, including grief, learning disabilities, depression, and anxiety.

  2. All therapists are pill pushers:

    Despite what you may have heard, therapists are not pill pushers. In fact, not all therapists have the power to prescribe medications. You can go to any type of therapist that you like. If your psychologist thinks you might benefit from medication therapy, he or she will refer you to a psychiatrist who can further evaluate your condition and decide if medication is a suitable option.

  3. Therapists will shame you:

    A therapist’s job is not to blame you or shame you for your behavior. Contrary to what you’ve seen on TV or movies, good therapists are trained to patiently and compassionately guide their clients through painful experiences. As the sessions progress, the goal is to help clients become more self-aware and take charge of their life decisions. Therapists don’t blame or shame; they just help you get to the root of your problems so you can turn your life around for the better.

  4. Therapists run your life:

    Therapists aren’t there to run your life and tell you what to do. Their job is, however, to listen to clients and help them become more self-aware, so they can make sound decisions on their own. Depending on the type of therapist, you may be assigned homework or asked to keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings to help you progress. Just because some clients hang on their therapists’ every word doesn’t mean you can’t think for yourself and make decisions without consulting your therapist.

  5. Therapy is never ending:

    A lot of people think that once you start therapy, you can’t stop, but this is not true for most people. Depending on your particular condition or plan of treatment, the average therapy course lasts three or four months. Some people continue to see their therapist for several years for maintenance therapy. The duration of your therapy course is up to you, but it is unlikely to become a permanent part of your life.

  6. Going to therapy means you’re weak:

    This is perhaps one of the biggest public misconceptions about going to therapy. We’re taught from a young age to be independent and solve our own problems alone, but everyone has their limits. In no way does seeking the help of a professional to help you sort through life’s messes make you weak. Going to therapy can help you overcome the problems that are keeping you from living your life to the fullest, and there’s nothing weak or weird about wanting to improve your quality of life.