Maybe you’ve thought about finding a therapist but ultimately you decide it’s not the right time, or even that therapy just isn’t for you. You’re not alone: according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the average person waits 11 years to seek treatment after the onset of mental health problems.
Here are five common reasons people delay or avoid seeking psychological help:
1. “It’s not that bad. Other people have it worse.”
This is a big one. We tend to think our problems have to be bad enough, compared to others, to seek help. In turn, we minimize our own suffering.
In reality, it’s the deviation from your personal baseline, your “normal”, that matters when it comes to deciding if it’s time to seek help. You know when something’s off. When it’s harder to get through the day. When you’re not enjoying things as much as you did. When your relationships are suffering. That’s what matters.
For more on this, read 5 Signs it’s Time to See a Therapist.
2. “I should be able to get better on my own.”
Can you relate to this thought? You probably can. For a lot of layered and complex reasons, we tend to feel a bit of shame around our struggles. We think we should be able to push through on our own. That it signifies a failure of will to admit that we are suffering.
Let’s flip the script here. Let’s recognize it as a sign of strength, not weakness, to have the insight and courage to proactively address the problems we’re having by seeking help for them.
3. “I’m already self-aware and insightful.”
Maybe you’ve already figured out that you avoid commitment, or you seek control in most situations, or you’re unorganized, or whatever it is. Then it follows that you already know what you “should” do to “fix” your problem. In other words, what could you learn in therapy that you don’t already know?
Actually, self-aware and insightful people are fit to have even more productive therapy sessions. When you’re open to exploring your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in therapy, you might be surprised how much you can come to understand about yourself.
Therapists are highly skilled professionals who are trained to help you arrive at even deeper insights and to help you confront the stories you tell about yourself, others, and the world at large.
4. “I already have people I can talk to.”
Why would you talk to a stranger about your problems when you already have trusted confidants? The short answer is that the therapeutic relationship is different than any other relationship you’ll ever have. It’s intentionally structured to create the perfect conditions for healing and insight. We wrote a blog post about the power of the therapeutic relationship. Check it out.
5. “I already went to therapy. Shouldn’t I be better now?”
There’s no rule that says you can’t return to therapy after one go-around. Sometimes people end therapy because they’re feeling better, but that doesn’t mean they are expected to live happily ever after.
On the other hand, some people might have found their first shot at therapy to be ineffective, so they write it off completely. Your relationship with your therapist is one of the most important factors in the success of therapy. If you didn’t click with your first therapist, it’s worth trying again with someone new. You may find that it makes all the difference.
We’ll Guide You
At GLPG, we believe in the power of therapy, and we hold the therapeutic relationship in high regard. That’s why we’ll go to great lengths to match you with your perfect therapist.
Click here to get started. We’ll guide you along the way.