MYTH: I don’t need a therapist. I’m smart enough to solve my own problems.
FACT: We all have our blind spots. Intelligence has nothing to do with it. A good therapist doesn’t tell you what to do or how to live your life. He or she will give you an experienced outside perspective and help you gain insight into yourself so you can make better choices.
MYTH: Therapy is for crazy people.
FACT: Therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and want to learn tools and techniques to become more self-confident and emotionally balanced.
MYTH: All therapists want to talk about is my parents.
FACT: While exploring family relationships can sometimes clarify thoughts and behaviors later in life, that is not the sole focus of therapy. The primary focus is what you need to change—unhealthy patterns and symptoms in your life. Therapy is not about blaming your parents or dwelling on the past.
MYTH: Therapy is self-indulgent. It’s for whiners and complainers.
FACT: Therapy is hard work. Complaining won’t get you very far. Improvement in therapy comes from taking a hard look at yourself and your life, and taking responsibility for your own actions. Your therapist will help you, but ultimately you’re the one who must do the work.
What to expect in therapy.
Every therapist is different, but there are usually some similarities in how therapy is structured. Normally, sessions will last about an hour, and take place around once a week. Although for more intensive therapy, they may be scheduled more often. Therapy is normally conducted in the therapist’s office, but therapists also work in hospitals and nursing homes, and in some cases will conduct home visits.
Expect a good fit between you and your therapist. Don’t settle for bad fit. You may need to see one or more therapists until you feel understood and accepted.
Therapy is a partnership. Both you and your therapist contribute to the healing process. You’re not expected to do the work of recovery all by yourself, but your therapist can’t do it for you either. Therapy should feel like a collaboration.
Therapy will not always feel pleasant. Painful memories, frustrations or feelings might surface. This is a normal part of therapy and your therapist will guide you through this process. Be sure to communicate with your therapist about how you are feeling.
Therapy should be a safe place. While at times you’ll feel challenged or face unpleasant feelings, you should always feel safe. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed or you’re dreading your therapy sessions, talk to your therapist.