Why NOT to Go to Therapy
People come up with a variety of justifications to avoid seeking therapy. “I’m okay. I can handle this. I’ll just keep going the way I’m going and see what happens,” they say. But is that the best approach for what ails you?
"I CAN SOLVE MY OWN PROBLEMS“
I don’t need a therapist. People should take care of their own business, shouldn’t they?” In an ideal world, yes, everyone would be able to take care of his or her own issues. But the truth is if you could resolve whatever issue brought you to consider therapy, you would have handled it already. For all of us, some issues are beyond our capacity to solve without help.
Awareness of the problem isn’t enough. You may even have known what your issues are for some time now. If you knew what to do and how to go about it, you would have done so already.
So you need another kind of help, ideally the help of an experienced professional.
“IT COSTS TOO MUCH”
It’s true. Therapy is an expense. But therapy is also an investment in you. What would you be willing to invest to resolve your issues, feel better, achieve your potential in relationships and at work? And what will it cost– in time, emotional pain, ill health, and money – if you let your issues take their normal course? What will it cost the people around you?
What is it worth?... Usually I get a response like, “Overcoming these problems would be priceless.”
I believe that is the real question to consider... What are you willing to invest – in yourself – to resolve your issues and move on with your life?
“ONLY CRAZY PEOPLE GO… WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK??”
It’s true. People tend to be more private about seeing a therapist than most other medical professions. But most people today attach no stigma or embarrassment to seeing a therapist. Research shows any stigma attached to therapy has been steadily declining over the last forty years.
More than 90 percent of Americans have either sought therapy or had a close family member attend therapy. (So you’d probably be surprised to learn how many people you know, at work and in other areas of your life, who seek counseling.)
If you’re hesitating to begin therapy because of how it will look, think a little deeper about that choice. Is it the right thing for you to continue struggling, out of concern about someone else’s judgment, even one that may only be imagining? Or should you take steps to take care of yourself?
“MY PROBLEMS AREN'T THAT BAD”
No one goes to therapy on time, just as no one leaves a bad relationship or job when things begin to take a bad turn. Too many people wait until their symptoms or issues are unbearable before they call a therapist. (One study shows that, on average, couples seek counseling about six years later than they should have.)
It’s time to seek help whenever your issues interfere with your normal activities, mood, or sense of self. Keep in mind that calling a therapist is not a lifetime commitment. (I provide free 30-minute consultations, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be an investment of money either.) It’s possible an initial meeting with a therapist may result in advice that lets you work through your concerns without follow-on sessions. Or he or she may advise short-term treatment. There is little to lose and potentially so much to gain by getting a professional perspective on your situation.
“I'M TOO BUSY”
Perhaps it would be better to ask, “How long am I willing to live with this situation before I get help?” How will I feel in one or two or ten years if you continue to live with the problem?
You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all busy these days. You live in a stressful world. How can you possibly add another commitment to your schedule?
But there’s another way to look at it… How much time are you wasting because of your current issues? How many of your hours are unproductive because of what you’re struggling with? Are you losing sleep or having trouble concentrating? Or sleeping too much? Or just exhausted? These issues result in a lot of lost time.
My schedule is geared to accommodate yours. I have evening hours four days a week and also provide telephone. Technology also helps save time for clients who are unable to meet in person, with FaceTime and Skype sessions available to help save you time.
So the commitment to therapy is a small sacrifice of time in the short term. But you may find it’s a way to make all of your hours more productive moving forward.
“I CAN JUST TALK TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS”
The people close to you want the best for you and they’re one of the most important sources of support. But friends and family are almost always biased in their efforts to support you. In addition to providing an objective perspective, your therapist brings years of education and experience that give him or her expertise in treating complex problems.
You may also find that it’s easier to open up and fully express your concerns with a therapist, problems that you may have had trouble fully airing to a friend or family member.
The support of friends and family has been there all along, but it hasn’t gotten you to where you want to be. That’s why you’re here, on this site, considering another kind of help.