Recently in the hit Netflix show ‘Masaba Masaba’ we saw the lead character going to a therapist. As a promising, progressive show largely inspired by and based on the lives of Masaba Gupta and Neena Gupta, their challenges in their respective professional spaces as well as on the challenges they face as a single mother and a divorced daughter, you would go in expecting a real representation of mental health. However, what we get is a caricature-ish imagery of a therapist who is a narcissistic who constantly interrupts Masaba and talks about her own problems in the session with the client.
This could have been dismissed as a one-off incident, however, less than a year later when we see the second season of Family Man replaying the caricature-ish therapist storyline, you know mental health and therapy is still a long way from becoming a part of mainstream and serious conversations. This, especially, when we know therapy can be and has proven to be life-changing for so many people. It then becomes all the more important to bust some of the popular myths around therapy.
1. You Have To Hit “Rock-Bottom” To Begin Therapy
The popular notion is that one should ideally only go into therapy if their life has got out of their control or if they have hit rock-bottom in their lives. The truth however is that many people from different walks of life go into therapy trying to navigate different sets of problems and no, they need not all be in their worst phases of life to check into therapy. To nurture personal growth, to navigate through rough patches or to change some habits they have had difficulty getting a grip of, are some of the broad reasons why people check into therapy. Mostly people check into therapy because they want to make a change but do not know where to start. A therapist, in this case, comes handy to embrace our thoughts and navigate our emotions and so much more.
Also read: Why Did It Take Me So Long To Get Therapy?
2. Only “Weak” People Go For Therapy
Asking for help is often seen as a sign of failure and weakness in most cultures, including ours. This then impedes any effort to get into therapy for many. The reality is that asking for help is in fact a great show of courage and determination to get better. Look at it this way: We would not hesitate to go to a doctor immediately if we break our leg, right? Then why not when it comes to taking care of our mental health which is as much an important part of our overall well-being? We should not hesitate in reaching out for professional help if we are facing depression or anxiety.
3. Therapists Have The Solution To All Of Life’s Problems
When talking about establishing a client-therapist relationship, it is important to note that in the alliance, what the client thinks is important and not what the therapist. Also, there is no “one way” or “good way” which therapists use in their sessions to help clients. A good therapist operates from the stance that the client is the owner of the story and no good therapist will interfere or offer their judgment to a client narrating their story. They then help the clients to reach their own truths and/or realisations at their own pace and time.
4. All Therapy Is The Same
Often, when people find that one kind of therapy has not worked for them and does not suit their needs, they assume that all therapy is ineffective. Going into therapy is a big decision and when it does not work, it could get a little frustrating to try again. But here’s the thing: There are different kinds of therapy, such as Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), etc. and sometimes, it takes some trial and error to find out what works best for us.
5. I’ll Have To Stay In Therapy Forever
In general, treatment types and lengths vary depending on your needs and underlying conditions. In fact, according to the American Psychology Association, about half of the people who go for therapy show improvement after 15 to 20 sessions. That one has to be lifelong in therapy is one of the many myths that stop one from taking the necessary step towards taking care of one’s mental wellbeing and taking professional help that they can significantly benefit from.
The truth is, therapy has many benefits. It prepares us in facing anxiety, strengthen our personal relationships and just learning to accept ourselves. Going for therapy can be beneficial for our holistic wellbeing. What are some of the myths around therapy that you have heard?
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