6 Myths of Therapy


For those of you who have not heard this term that 80% of my teen clients are using & don’t feel like looking it up on urban dictionary: “Spilling the tea” = sharing some juicy info. So on that note, welcome to TEA TIME.👏🏻

I feel some responsibility to correct the myths I’ve heard out there about therapy in efforts to demystify it for people a bit. Below I’ll address the 6 most common myths I keep hearing. If there are any that you would like me to add and share my perspective on, comment them below!

Myth 1: Therapy is only for traumatic experiences or people with serious issues.

Who’s the gatekeeper that gets to decide what qualifies as traumatic or serious? Life is subjective & invalidation is not cool. Yes, please seek therapy if you have been through a traumatic experience, have a mental health diagnosis, or are seriously struggling. But ALSO seek therapy if neither of those apply to you & you’d like to become a more developed, more aware, and in-touch human. Very few people have it all figured out. Those who believe they do, are often the same ones that could benefit from therapy most. Therapy is a process of self-reflection and insight. If you feel like that won’t benefit you, then there are probably things you’re afraid to face. Those same things tend to make their appearance (either subtly or obviously) in your life & relationships. Since I preach that therapy is for everyone, of course I have a therapist too. If I didn’t, it would make me a hypocrite. Good therapy requires the therapist to continuously do their own work & I’m committed to that. The myth above is a hugeeee reason that mental health stigma still exists. The truth is, if people sought counseling in efforts to prepare, prevent, and cope more healthily in their everyday lives, there would be a lot less cleaning up to do. This is the idea behind modern mental health: Prevention. You deserve greater self-understanding, deeper relationships, meaning, purpose, and direction. We ALL do. ✨

Myth 2: “My therapist will tell me parents everything I say.”

✧Attention teen clients, who are totally freaked out about this✧
I make sure to discuss confidentiality in our VERY. FIRST. SESSION. (So we’re all on the same page). If you’re under 18, your parents do have rights to your health information. BUT I like to explain to parents that if they are making the effort to bring you to therapy, are paying for your therapy, and/or want you to feel healthier, better, etc., then they should not be asking me personal questions about your sessions. It’s disrespectful of your privacy and disruptive of the therapeutic process. If there is something I feel your parents should know because it’s essential to supporting your progress, we’ll talk it over first. If you’re over 18, you don’t need to worry about this. I technically can’t even confirm to your parents that you are a client of mine unless you have signed a release of information form for me to speak with them. The only exceptions to breaking confidentiality are if you are in serious danger, plan to hurt yourself, or tell me that you plan to hurt someone else. When this is the case, I still only release information relevant to the safety issue, which does not include unrelated personal details about our sessions. For therapy to work, you have to trust me and feel safe sharing. I understand that if you wanted your parents to know everything, you would tell them. But maybe we can get to a point in our work together where you feel good about sharing more with them yourself. #goals.

Myth 3: The idea that people might freak out their therapist.

To put it plainly, I’m really hard to freak out. Chances are, the things you think might freak me out, are the things that will actually STRENGTHEN our work together. A lot of times, after a really powerful “aha” moment, the client leaves the session way more freaked out than I am haha. I’m willing to bet that if freaking out your therapist is a concern in your mind, that you’ve had some judgmental people in your life, and don’t need another. ✨Therapy is different✨Part of the training to become a therapist is learning how to develop unconditional acceptance for your clients. It’s a necessary component of a healing relationship, so you can rest assured that I’m listening from a place of interest & acceptance. I’ve heard a lot of stories. I recognize that it takes courage & vulnerability to share. Vulnerability is a change agent and requires trust. It’s what will make therapy so worthwhile to you. We’re learning from each other & navigating things together, so If I were to be “freaked out,” it would hinder that process. So with that said, I invite you to try to freak me out. To get vulnerable. To trust me. And to make some serious therapeutic gains.

Myth 4: If you have real friends, you don’t need a therapist.

Your friends might love you, but they don’t make good therapists.
Here’s why:
✨Friends don’t have the extensive training to keep their judgement in check when it comes to what you’re going through.
✨It’s a supportive norm for friends to agree with you just to make you feel better. That’s not always a good thing. Therapists will be honest.
✨Friends might try to advise you in ways that fit their beliefs & morals regarding how life should be lived (which might be totally off base for you). A therapist will be accepting & objective.
✨Friends aren’t bound to confidentiality. Therapists are. You don’t have to worry that what you say in confidence will be repeated to the wrong person or become gossip.
✨Your friends don’t have years of training in counseling under their belt. And even if they did, they’d still have bias. There are good reasons why therapists can’t treat friends or family members.

It’s good to have great friends. It’s also good to have a great therapist. AT. THE. SAME. TIME. 🙌🏻🙌🏽🙌🏾

Myth 5: All therapy is the same.

Therapy isn’t one-size-fits-all. And thank goodness, because if you’ve ever bought anything labeled “one size fits all,” you’ve probably discovered that you were lied to & it actually fits terribly. 🤷🏻‍♀️Anytime a person’s needs are lumped into one type, shape, size, or category, it eliminates the opportunity to speak to their individual experience. But that’s a vital component of successful therapy. It has to be tailored to you. Therapy on TV is usually portrayed in a pretty Freudian light. Meaning the therapist is sitting quietly in a chair & taking notes on a clipboard as the client vents. That’s definitely not for everyone. More modern approaches including CBT, EFT, DBT, EMDR, etc., can look & feel A LOT different.
They can be:
More casual
More interactive
More solution-focused
More conversational
More educational
More exploratory

YOU get to decide.✨
If you’re not sure what all of those letters above mean, let’s chat more about what you’re looking for & which type of therapy best matches your needs. Leave a comment below & I’ll explain!

Myth 6: Therapists can read minds.

If I had a dollar for every time this exact conversation happens....👇🏻
✨I meet a new person.
New person: So, what do you do for work?
Me: I’m a therapist.
New person: Cool! I went to one once when I sprained my knee.
Me: I’m actually not a physical therapist. I’m a psychotherapist, so more focus on mental health vs. physical.
New person: OHHH!
😳 Wow. So then you’ve been reading my mind this whole time.
Me: (To myself)
Therapists aren’t psychic. It would be super cool to have psychic powers, butttt I don’t. However, I might be able to predict your future with a little more accuracy than the average person. I’ve heard a lot of stories & witnessed patterns in the way things play out. Part of my job is to study & research those patterns. Then apply evidence based treatment methods to steer you in the direction you prefer to go. I won’t say the “right” direction because your right might not be mine, and THAT’S COMPLETELY OK. So no, I can’t read your mind. I don’t have psychic powers. But through therapy, YOU can take way more power over your own future. 🙌🏻

Mary SomichComment