We Need to Have Open Conversations About Therapy
Like many aspects of mental health, therapy is steeped in stigma. People talk about it in hushed tones and behind closed doors, but really, we need to have open conversations about therapy. In this blog post, I'm going to share my thoughts on why.
Benefits of Having Open Dialogue About Therapy
There are many benefits to having an open dialogue about therapy. I've never actually been to therapy myself, but I've wanted to. In particular, there was a period where I desperately wanted to try therapy because my mental illnesses felt out of control, and I had no idea how to handle them. There are a number of reasons that I've never gone through with therapy, one of which was the stigma.
Therapy is something that, growing up, I never really heard anyone talk about. There weren't accessible conversations about it, and everything felt shrouded, so it meant having to be hush-hush. I would literally search online by myself to try to find out how to navigate even finding a therapist and what it would be like. If there were open dialogue about therapy, it'd be a lot easier to approach.
There are two good conversations about therapy that I've had or been a part of over the last little while that have got me thinking about this. One was with a friend, and the other was as part of a chat by an online streamer I enjoy watching. With my friend, we've had conversations about mental health in the past, so it's just something we talk about from time to time. With the streamer, it was something casually brought up in conversation.
In both cases, it was nice because it facilitated the opportunity to discuss things like what it's like to see a therapist, what benefits can come of therapy, and how it can help with life overall, not just with mental health situations. This is why we need to have open conversations about therapy.
2 Key Misconceptions About Therapy
There are two key misconceptions about therapy that stick out to me. They're similar, but they're not quite the same.
- Therapy is for "unstable" people. If you think about it, therapy is seen as a shameful necessity for "unstable" people who "need help." But that's really not the case. Stigmatized language aside, while therapy is beneficial for people who are struggling with mental health, people who aren't struggling can also benefit from therapy.
- Therapy is only for crises or problems. Even if it doesn't come from a place of stigma, another way therapy is often portrayed as a tool to employ when someone is having a mental health crisis or when there are problems in someone's life. However, from the conversations I've had and other discussions I've seen, therapy can be useful for overall mental wellbeing and navigating life. It doesn't just need to only be for those breaking point moments.
There are many more things that can be learned by talking about therapy more openly, such as the different kinds of therapies, whether therapy would be a good fit for you, or how it's okay to try another therapist if you don't find a good fit right away. And there's so much more to know about therapy, so let's get the open conversations we need about therapy started so we can combat mental health stigma and enlighten people on how therapy can be an asset in life.
Barton, L. (2021, May 3). We Need to Have Open Conversations About Therapy, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, August 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivingmentalhealthstigma/2021/5/we-need-to-have-open-conversations-about-therapy