There is an unfortunate stigma that can surround counselling. Those who seek help are seen as weak or out of control. Even though few people would hesitate to go to the doctor or emergency room for a physical ailment, there can still be prejudice against those who are getting help for their minds.
Thankfully, with increasing media attention being drawn towards mental health, the power of these stigmas have begun to fade. Here are some common myths we can debunk about counselling:
Only crazy people go to counselling: This idea has been reinforced in such iconic movies such as Silence of the Lambs, Shutter Island, A Clockwork Orange, and many others. It is not true that only people with extreme personality disorders go to counselling. Therapists most commonly deal with people going through difficult life transitions like divorce, health challenges, relocation, work stress, and family/parenting issues.
You are weak if you go to counselling: People are perceived as tough and strong if they deal with their own problems in silence and do not bother others with their struggles. This once popular stigma was very detrimental, most clearly seen with the large number of veterans who turned to alcohol and drugs in an attempt to numb their pain. With counselling, many would have been diagnosed with PTSD and assisted in transitioning back to home life. There is nothing weak about asking for help.
There are no benefits to talking about your problems: The opposite could not be truer. Dr. Stephen Pilling, a consultant clinical psychologist at University College London, describes on the National Health Service (UK) website how talking about what is troubling you can act as a form of cathartic release, allowing you to eventually feel less burdened by your troubles, and can lower your stress.
What you say in counselling can be used against you: People who are going through legal battles such as divorce, custody or other lawsuits may be fearful that if it is brought to the attention of the judge that they are in therapy it could be detrimental to their case. However, in most cases if an individual is in counselling it shows the judge that you are actively participating in your wellness and self-improvement.
Everyone will know you’re going to counselling: Be assured that therapy clinics are very respectful of your desire for anonymity. You can let them know of your concern and all further contact can be made discreetly. Privacy is of the utmost important to therapists, and your conversations are not shared with anyone without your explicit permission.
You should never feel ashamed of seeking help, no matter how little or big the problem may seem. At Family TLC we have knowledgeable and professional staff that can help you cope with any of life’s challenges, and emerge from them more confident and calm. Check out our website for more information.