Psychotherapy Facts: Common Misconceptions About Therapy

 In FAQ, Psychotherapy, Toronto Therapist

toronto therapist myths about therapyLast year, Huffington Post posted an informative article which summarized the common misconceptions many people have about therapy.

In the last decade, there has been an increasingly better understanding in society regarding therapy and how it can be valuable and beneficial not just for acute emotional challenges, but for promoting personal development and living “life to its fullest” potential.

However, there are still many misconceptions that persist about the therapeutic process.

Some of the common myths are:

MYTH: Therapy Is Like Having A Paid Friend:
FACT: There is huge difference between a therapist and your best friend. “There’s a myth that you pay someone to be nice to you and care for you — what I tell my clients is that you pay for time and expertise and the caring is free,” says Noah Rubinstein, founder and CEO of therapist directory Rubinstein adds, therapists are trained to avoid dual relationships and can’t see their clients outside of the office.

MYTH: Therapy Means You’re ‘Crazy’:
FACT: Most people are raised to be independent and solve problems on their own. “Seeking help is not a sign of weakness and the truth is, we all suffer and getting help doesn’t mean you’re ‘crazy,'” Rubinstein says. He also adds that people at some point in time will go through periods of depression, hurt or feeling worried and mainstream media often has misconceptions of what a patient or client looks like. “Most people who go to therapists are ordinary everyday people. They don’t have manic episodes or are hospitalized — and I wouldn’t call this ‘crazy’ either,” he says.

MYTH: Therapy Will Cost A Fortune:
FACT: Yes, seeing a therapist often can get expensive. Rubinstein suggests looking at your insurance providers to see if you can get benefits — relying solely on paying out of your own pocket can get costly. But he also advises a holistic view. “When you think about price, what’s the cost of not doing therapy? Your job performance?” he says. Think about how your distress many conflict with your work or relationship and then make a decision about pricing.

MYTH: Therapists Will Blame You And Shame You:
FACT: “This is something that comes directly out of Dr. Phil. Therapists are portrayed like Dr. Phil and he blames, shames and confronts his clients — this is not how therapy works,” Rubinstein says. Good therapy is about compassion, he adds, and is intended to let the client experience their own emotional breakthroughs at their own pace.

MYTH: Medication Is Just As Effective As Therapy:
FACT: Rubinstein says that not all problems can be fixed with medication. “The medical model assumes that most psychological problems are caused by biochemistry, rather than viewing biochemical changes as a symptom, and can overlook the experience of losing jobs, divorce, deaths in the family etc.,” he says. Emotional stress, he notes, cannot be solved with just medication, and people relying solely on pills should look at their options for one-on-one therapy.

MYTH: Therapy Is Passive:
FACT: Rubinstein says many people also think therapy is passive. Just think about all the scenes in movies or television shows where a therapist does nothing but nod his or her head. “Therapists are taught active listening skills and are trained to understand the client’s struggles,” he says.

MYTH: Therapy Is All Happy Thoughts:
FACT: ‘Think happy thoughts…think happy thoughts.’ Yes, but not always. “Many new clients expect their therapist to change their perspective and convince them they should be happy. But therapy doesn’t work by thinking happy thoughts, In order to become happy, a person needs to face the parts of them that aren’t,” he says. Working with a client one-on-one, therapists are able to go through a person’s painful past and give them hope for a peaceful future.

MYTH: There’s Nothing You Can Do About The Past:
FACT: There’s always an assumption that therapy is about moving forward and never looking back. “When we do this, our past still haunts us. Good therapy allows people to go to those places where they have been wounded and burned and resolve these feelings,” he says.

MYTH: Therapy Will Make Your Painful Problems Worse:
FACT: Yes, you will go back into the past and yes, it may bring up some bad memories. But don’t be afraid. “Good therapists guide their clients through painful experiences, but in a way that is safe and not overwhelming.”

For my part, I provide a complimentary consultation so that a person seeking to engage in therapy can have the opportunity to experience what it is like to sit and work with me and to ‘demystify’ the process by trying it out.

If there are questions you may have about the therapeutic process, please take a look through the rest of my website.  It has been my goal to provide information on this site to shed light and inform about therapy.  If you’re ready to proceed with booking a complimentary consultation, I can be reached by email at mio[at] or by completing the contact form.

Originally cited from an article on Huffington Post.

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