Millions of people around the world are affected by mental illnesses. Unfortunately, many common therapy myths discourage people from seeking help or support, like the belief that:
These long-held misconceptions contribute to the stigma surrounding mental issues. If you’ve never been to therapy before, your view about therapy may be centered around these common therapy myths.
One of our essential goals at mytherapist.ng is to provide comprehensive and accurate information about therapy and mental health care, so this article will explore some common myths about therapy vs. reality to eliminate any misconceptions you might have.
Often, when people talk to me about their mental illnesses, and I suggest therapy, they say things like, “It’s not that serious. I didn’t say I’m running mad.” Or, “Do I look like someone that can afford therapy?”
In fact, before I started therapy, I thought it a waste of time — paying a random stranger to ask me stupid questions, then drag me off to Yabaleft (a popular psychiatric home in Lagos, Nigeria.)
Thankfully, my therapy experiences subsequently cleared me of those wrong ideas. Below, I have listed some common therapy myths vs reality.
Reality: Everyone experiences difficulties once in a while, physically, emotionally, or otherwise. Think of it this way: when you feel sick in your body, you go to the hospital; but when you have any issues regarding your emotions or psyche, you go to therapy.
In essence, therapy is for everyone — even the therapists. People who go to therapy are stable and normal people like you and me. Besides, people go to therapy for various reasons that don’t involve being mad fellows who should be chained. For example:
Reality: Therapists are trained to diagnose and treat different mental disorders. For this reason, they understand you more and know how to help you more than your friends or family.
Besides, one of the reasons therapy is successful is that therapists are not part of your daily activities. They are less biased and non-judgemental. Unlike your family members, who may think they know you more and tell you what they think is best for you, therapists liaise with you to discover or develop life-coping skills.
Reality: Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. In fact, admitting you need help is a huge step to mental wellness, and that, in itself, is courageous. It takes strength to identify a problem and pursue real change.
Reality: There’s no set duration for therapy. It lasts as long as you want it to — two sessions, three months, or even years, depending on your needs, symptoms, therapy goals, or rate of progress.
Reality: The cost of therapy can vary substantially, depending on your symptoms, the therapist’s rates, and whether the therapy is in person or online. Fortunately, organizations like mytherapist.ng are committed to making therapy affordable and accessible.
Reality: Professional ethics require therapists to be confidential. They’re not allowed to disclose your personal information to anyone. A good therapist understands that what happens in therapy stays in therapy. You’re also not obligated to tell anyone that you are in therapy if you do not feel comfortable with it.
Reality: This is one of the most common therapy myths in Africa. People usually see therapy as a last resort for deranged fellows. However, every health issue is serious, be it physical, mental, or psychological.
No factors determine how “serious” a mental illness is because all mental conditions are valid. So, if you feel like seeing a therapist, don’t wait until it’s “more serious.”
Reality: Teletherapy (online therapy) has made it easier to access therapy, so the number of people who go to therapy has rapidly increased.
However, this myth persists because people who attend therapy tend to be secretive about it. That doesn’t invalidate the reality that many people with mental health issues have begun to seek therapy.
Many common therapy myths discourage people from seeking professional help and support. However, an investment in mental health is an all-round win. We’re readily available to connect you with qualified therapists who suit your goals and needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.