When it comes to seeing a doctor for aches, pains, or other physical ailments, most people pick up the phone and call their physician. The truth is, modern medicine offers specialists for every system of the body, and that includes the brain. So why do so many people hesitate to make the call to a therapist when it’s their mind — their emotional or mental health — that is at stake?
Here are four common myths about seeing a therapist that people use to avoid going, when in fact, seeing a therapist might be exactly what the doctor ordered.
1. “I should be able to solve my own problems.”
This common myth is heard across all age groups and genders. Not only do many people think they should be able to solve their own emotional or mental health issues like depression or out-of-control anxiety, but they also think it is a sign of weakness to see a counselor! Often, these same people believe that if they just wait a little longer, and keep doing what they are doing, things will improve. A popular TV psychologist likes to tell people who seem stuck in an endless loop of dysfunctional behavior, “How is that working for you so far?” Without exception, the response is, “Not great.” Just like kidney or thyroid function issues need medical attention by trained professionals, emotional issues can be improved, if not solved, with the help of a trained professional like a therapist or counselor.
2. “Only crazy people need therapy.”
Many people who are employed, have healthy relationships, pay their bills and in general, seem to have their lives together believe they can’t possibly benefit from seeing a therapist or mental health professional. What these people do not understand is that therapy is for high functioning people too! Reasons for seeking therapy can sometimes be situational or temporary — for example how to handle the stressors of a new living situation or workplace or coping with a family member who is suffering from a long-term or even terminal illness. Therapists can help people with issues of all types and levels of seriousness. And, like other health issues, they can escalate if not treated. Making a few adjustments to emotional or mental health issues as they arise can prevent larger, more complex issues from developing down the road.
3. “I cannot afford to see a counselor.”
With the growing awareness of the importance of emotional and mental health at all levels of society today, and for all age groups, from children to the elderly, health insurance plans have become increasingly more likely to include mental health services as part of member benefits. While it is true that not all coverage for mental health services is the same, it pays to find out exactly what a policy covers and take advantage of what is offered. For example, some policies and plans may cover group grief counseling, treatment by a marriage and family therapist (MFT) or psychiatrist, or substance abuse treatment, including in-patient care. Others may cover a specific number of sessions or offer unlimited sessions with or without a co-pay.
4. “I do not have time.”
One of the positive changes to arise out of the COVID-19 pandemic was the adjustment that many insurance plans, doctors, and mental health professionals made, out of necessity, to how appointments are offered. Now, therapy sessions can be conducted virtually, including after normal business hours and on weekends. In fact, some mental health organizations, like Betterhelp.com, ReGain.com, and others, have sprung up that only offer virtual appointments. All that is needed is a computer, a little privacy, and the willingness to talk.
When it comes to your emotional and mental health, do not fall into the trap of believing the myths that prevent people from feeling better. After all, remaining emotionally healthy is good for you and your family and will help you to achieve financial well-being, including planning for long-term care coverage.