Therapy MythBusting: Part One
Updated: Apr 25, 2020
by Dr. Lana Holmes
Myth: The act of coming into therapy alone will solve my problems.
The answer: No. This is not a mystical, one-sided relationship. But with folks like me, you will get some Black Girl Magic. All in all, therapy is a collaborative process in which both the clinician and the person seeking treatment work towards the latter's healing. In order for therapy to be most effective, the person seeking treatment must be actively involved and engaged. This typically entails attending 45-60 minute sessions per week, applying interventions (learned in treatment) in one's daily life, and openly initiating and maintaining dialogue with one's clinician.
Considering these details mental health treatment is a personal commitment to psychological well-being. Therefore, before making the decision to start therapy, it could be helpful to determine what would make it easy or hard to show up fully and do the work. The following are a list of potential barriers to treatment, as well as considerations to help overcome them.
Barrier 1: I am afraid of disclosing personal information to a stranger.
Consider: Expressing your concerns to the clinician and asking them how they can keep you and your information safe. Also, keep in mind that clinicians are trained and educated to secure personal information about people and their mental health treatment.
Barrier 2: I feel uncertain about what I would like to work on.
Consider: Sharing information about issues that have been bothering you (e.g., problems with your thoughts, behaviors, or emotions) or issues in different areas of your life (e.g., work, school, relationships, etc.). Then, the clinician can help you go from there.
Barrier 3: I have a busy schedule and/or overwhelming life demands.
Consider: Asking the therapist if they have appointments available during evenings, nights, weekends, or any other time that would work with your schedule. Teletherapy could also be an option, as well as using your lunch break.
Barrier 4: I have financial or insurance limitations.
Consider: Discussing reduced/sliding scale fee options. Most therapists (like us!) will work with you to make something work in a sustainable way.
Barrier 5: I am afraid of change.
Consider: The added benefits to your overall well-being and productivity by committing 1 hour per week to therapy.
All of these concerns are valid and need careful consideration. To help you make a decision, you can call a clinician to do a complimentary phone consultation, ask questions about the therapy process and logistics, and determine if now is the right time for treatment. If not, there's always tomorrow.