Many people believe that if someone is in therapy, then that automatically means that there must be something “wrong” with that person. There is a destructive, lingering stigma of going to therapy (or counseling; the two words are interchangeable) that stems from the societal constructs placed upon mental health. Historically speaking, it once was considered to be “taboo” for people to discuss mental health struggles. As times progress and education on mental health is becoming more readily available to the general public, more people are beginning to see not only the benefits of going to therapy but also that it can help anyone and everyone, in all walks of life. More people are seeking help for challenges that they are facing in their personal lives, and more people are talking about these very important topics than ever before. It seems like the stigma of being in therapy is starting to fade… but there is still so much more work to do. Therapy shouldn’t be seen as “taboo” or a dirty word.
When people feel ashamed or embarrassed about what others might think of them if they were to find out that they are attending therapy, it can push a lot of individuals away from seeking help – even if they need it. This can cause a lot of damage on a grander scale because when one individual is not taking care of his/her/their mental health, that can affect relationships, jobs, and so many other things… like a snowball effect.
- THINK: How many people do you know that have been hurt, in some way, by someone else’s behavior? How many of those people struggled, in some way, following this experience? Can you think of a relationship you’ve had in which either you or the other individual might have benefitted from talking to someone and working through difficult or painful experiences? Therapy is powerful in that it can help a person heal certain psychological wounds that they may be struggling with, and in turn, that person can foster healthy relationships with others and have an overall improved quality of life.
Therapy is oftentimes misunderstood because some people have false preconceived notions of what it is like, or they may even have jaded perceptions based on an incompatible match their first go-around. These judgments tend to be relayed to others, further perpetuating the stigma of seeking professional help. If we all could work together on understanding what therapy really is like and how it can benefit everyone.