Being a therapist for 25+ years I’ve heard all sorts of reasons why people don’t go to therapy. Here are the top 5 reasons I hear people say about why they don’t go to therapy.
- I’m not that depressed, stressed, anxious, fill in the blank.
- I know what’s wrong with me. I should be able to deal with this myself.
- It’s embarrassing.
- It costs too much.
- It’s too hard find a good therapist.
Do any of these sound familiar? I thought so. Continue reading to hear my gazillion years of experience refute these reasons!
5 Reasons *Not* To Go To Therapy
I’m not that depressed, stressed, anxious
1. I’m not that depressed, stressed, anxious, fill in the blank. What drives me crazy is when I hear people say, “Wow, I should have come in months ago.” Yeah, I want to say, so why didn’t you? OK, well, that’s what this article is about. We feel stuck, like life is hard work, but that’s just life, right? This blah feeling is normal, isn’t it? Doesn’t everyone feel this way?
What is depressed enough? What is anxious enough? This is hard to say, in part because we’re the frogs in the pot so sometimes the worst judges. The first time I went to therapy it was at the suggestion of my dad. I was insulted! I was doing fine. To humor him I went and my therapist said, “You are depressed.” Still incredulous I heard him rattle off my symptoms, like, feeling lost, lack of motivation, listlessness, emotional flatness, no great sadness but no joy either. I did not like the image in the mirror he held up to me but he was right and something about how he talked to me, listened to me, sparked a long dormant hope.
I know what’s wrong with me
2. I know what’s wrong with me. I should be able to deal with this myself. All I need to do is work harder, write in my gratitude journal every day, stop eating too much, drinking too much, stop being lazy, get a new job, exercise more, be more positive… So yeah, this is all great and if we can do it we do feel better for a while. Then for some weird reason we go back to the old habits, not writing in our journal, eating and drinking too much, loosing motivation and the negative thoughts creep back louder than ever.
If we’re lucky, we know what we need. We may even know how to do it. So what stops me from doing what I know is good for me? A good therapist is like a good architect. You’ve got the tools, materials and desire to build a bridge. You can see the shore on the other side of the river where you want to go. The architect listens to you, gets behind your vision, sees the spot on the other shore where you want to go and gets to work with you to build the bridge to get there.
It’s embarrassing to go to therapy
3. It’s embarrassing. Stigma is alive and kicking. Except for some neighborhoods in New York City, announcing that you see a therapist may be greeted by the sound of chirping crickets. Or worse. The culture we live in may be accepting and encouraging which would be great, but too often it’s really not. Embarrassment is a close kin to shame which is toxic to growth.
Over the years I’ve seen a change. Thank God. Younger adults are more apt to see going to a therapist like going to any professional for specialized services, an attorney, accountant, medical doctor. Where is the embarrassment in getting your teeth cleaned every six months?
Therapy costs too much
4. Also, I don’t have time. Going to therapy is an investment there’s no way to get around that. You invest more than money. You invest your time and energy. This is all about priorities. If we know the value of something, whether it’s a pair of shoes or new car, we find a way to pay for it. If we really want to do something, like attend a rock concert in Cleveland, we find the time to make it happen. Why is it so much harder to prioritize our own well-being?
It’s too hard find a good therapist
5. Too hard find a good therapist. This one is the easiest because you’re here. At EWN we do our best to get you to the right therapist for you. If we don’t fit what you need, that’s OK, we have the experience and know-how to help you find the best therapist for you. Call us.
Therapy is often a waste of time and money and there are better ways to help one’s self than paying a stranger to sit there and do nothing. I deeply regret trying therapy and wish I had never done it. The side effects and harm from therapy are worse than the reason I hired a therapist in the first place.
Well, that sucks. I hate to say it, but the truth is anyone can call themselves a therapist. That means there are a lot of bad ones out there. And you’re right, exposure to a bad therapist can be just as triggering and harmful as the original distress that brought a person into therapy in the first place. I’m sorry you got a stinker. A Good Therapist is someone who doesn’t just sit there and do nothing (except collect their fee). A good therapist is effective in their work with you because they basically want you to know what they know, that their are proven ways to influence how we think and behave that will effect our well-being.
One good reason not to see a therapist is that they usually won’t tell someone who is using insurance that they have to get a DSM “diagnosis” and be labeled “mentally ill”. Simply walking into someone’s office guarantees this – if the therapist wants to get paid. The DSM “disorders” are voted into being by psychiatrists, and as far as I can understand, these “disorders” needed to be created so that drugs would have a “disease” to warrant their use. So many people do not know this. The mental health system is harmful and corrupt.
You have a good point. The requirement of a “diagnosis” to use an insurance benefit is problematic. This is one of the reasons my practice, Explore What’s Next, does not deal directly with insurance. If a diagnosis is unavoidable we make sure it is discussed with our patients and agreed upon before sharing it to process any insurance claims or any other documents.