Debunking Therapy Myths Part 2

If y’all remember, I made a blog post a few years ago that debunked a few common misconceptions about therapy to encourage everyone to pursue therapy rather than shy away from it. Well, I’m back again with three more misconceptions that I can’t wait to debunk, and I hope y’all are ready for the ride. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Myth #1: Therapists tell you what to do.

If you’ve never been to therapy before, it’s easy to think that all therapists do is listen to you just to tell you what you need to do next. This couldn’t be further from the truth! In my therapist sessions, we talk about what is on my mind, and we process it. We discuss what feelings are coming up, and my therapist asks me questions that allow me to investigate the “why” behind these feelings. Then, rather than tell me what to do next, she asks me questions that get me thinking about what I want to do next.

All in all, I decide my course of action, whether that is because I came up with it, or my therapist suggests something that I agree to do. Contrary to what you may see on television shows and in movies, you have a lot of autonomy in your sessions.

Myth #2: Therapy is serious all the time.

Don’t get me wrong — therapy can most certainly be serious. It’s a space for tears, anger, anxiety, and any other negative emotion you can think of. However, you can also find laughter in some sessions. Just a week or so ago, my therapist and I were laughing about how crazy it is that we both think banana pudding is the best dessert in the world (don’t argue with me in the comments either — it’s a fact lol). A couple of weeks before that, we were joking about how crazy our fur babies are.

My therapist makes me feel comfortable expressing whatever emotions I’m feeling, regardless of if they are negative or positive emotions. Both are embraced and welcomed because she values both the tears and the laughs.

Myth #3: You don’t need therapy if you believe in God or a higher power.

This one is a bit controversial, and I try to avoid controversial topics in my blog posts. However, I think this one is really important to bring up. During the last school year, one of my students asked for my thoughts on therapy. I’m always open about my therapy journey and struggles with mental health, so I had no issue advocating for it and sharing my story. Much to my surprise, he was shocked and didn’t understand why I approved of therapy. He said, “Well, I’ve seen you wear your charm bracelet before. It has a cross on it, so that means you’re a Christian, right? I just don’t see why you would even need therapy when you can just talk to God.”

I was caught off guard because I typically try to avoid talking about religion with my students, but I needed to explain this truthfully. I told him that talking to God is enough for some people, but everyone is different. Yes, I pray to God and talk to Him, but I also like to talk to trained professionals who can talk to me back. I also explained that both religion and therapy can coexist and even be used simultaneously, as we’ve seen with the existence of faith-based counseling. The beautiful part about all of this is that we can all make our own decisions about what is best for us, regardless of what we choose. I’m not sure if he understood where I was coming from in the end, but I hope that he learned something from our conversation.

Final Thoughts

Therapy is a great option that many people, especially those in my community, don’t explore due to fear, judgment, lack of funds or insurance, or simply misinformation. I started with pre-marital counseling and began counseling for my depression and anxiety shortly after. Thanks to therapy, Marlon and I strengthened our relationship before marriage and learned helpful tactics that would get us through several situations. Thanks to therapy, I’ve learned to value my voice/opinions and so much more.

Seeking professional help is not only for people who struggle with their mental health. It’s for anyone who wants to understand themselves on a deeper level and wants to become a better person overall. If you’ve been on the fence about speaking with a therapist, use this as a sign to try it!

“I think it’s really important to take the stigma away from mental health. My brain and my heart are really important to me. I don’t know why I wouldn’t seek help to have those things be as healthy as my teeth. I go to the dentist. So why wouldn’t I go to a shrink?” – Kerry Washington

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