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The truth about therapy

As a former therapist, I recognized that many people attached a negative connotation to therapy largely because they did not understand it.

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This article is meant to debunk some of the myths surrounding therapy.

Myth 1

Many people think of the Freudian style of therapy where you lay on the couch and bring up your past. The media further exploited this type of therapy but dwelling upon the “I hate my mother” concept. This type of therapy still exists, but very few therapists strictly adhere to it. There are so many newer forms of therapy practiced today.

Fact 1

The goal of therapy is not to hate your mother but to provide you with the skills you need to overcome your challenges. It could be goals created to help you with your relationships, your fears, your schooling, your anger and so on.

Myth 2

You don’t have to be crazy to have therapy. For example, counselling psychology is offered for the average person with the average issue such as learning how to keep a job, school issues, relationship issues, and more. Furthermore, it is not a sign of weakness to go for therapy; getting help is a healthy solution to everyday issues that seem to be insurmountable or out of control.

Fact 2

Just to reiterate what has been said so far, counseling psychology is a therapy for the issues which pop up in everyday life. Though there is other types of therapy for mental disorders.

Myth 3

Though psychoanalytic therapy may last for years this notion comes from the celebrities that seem to have a therapist for life. Most therapies can terminate in one or two sessions and some around 15 weeks.

Fact 3

Short term therapy is given to the client between one and four weeks with 15 weeks being the most. This is enough time to get a hold on the issues at hand whether it be sleeping issues, parenting, and other everyday issues that affect many of us daily.

Myth 4

Therapists just sit there and listen and ask you things like “how does that make you feel?” The fact is listening is just a part of therapy. Therapists will do a lot of talking to help you get over your issues and they may even give you homework to help solidify the necessary changes to facilitate success.

Myth 5

Therapy is the same wherever you go. This is not true. There are many kinds of therapy such as: acceptance therapy, cognitive therapy, forgiveness therapy, emotive therapy and so on. Each of these therapies will focus on a specific pathway to success.

Fact 4

Cognitive behavioral therapy known as CBT helps a client adjust to the demands of everyday life. This type of therapy identifies the issues and finds more appropriate ways to cope with the issues at hand. Cognitive behavioral therapy is particularly effective in dealing with depression.

Fact 5

Acceptance and commitment therapy. This kind of therapy helps the client to accept the challenges that may come his/her way and to deal with these issues in a more flexible manner. This therapy also helps a client accept certain uncontrollable situations and to accept one’s self and personal values. This type of therapy is most effective with chronic pain and workplace stress, and other medical conditions.

Myth 6

Couple therapy is the last resort for partners who fear a divorce. Actually couple therapy is for any couple with unresolved issues. Many clients go to couple therapy to maintain a good relationship and learn how to communicate better with their partner.

Fact 6

Many health professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers can come under the rubric of therapist. In Canada a counselling psychology therapist is a designation for people who are trained for everyday issues. Do some research and find the kind of therapy which best suits your needs. If you are unsure then ask the hospital to help you find one. For example, counselling psychologists can work in hospitals, schools, clinics, mental health organizations and so on.

Myth 7

Some people feel that therapists only dole out medication. This is not so, only a psychiatrist is licensed to prescribe medication. Medication is not always needed. Most therapies are done without the use of medication.

Myth 8

Therapy is expensive. Note that most therapies are of a short duration, guidance counselling is usually offered at the university, and many universities offer therapy to the public on a sliding fee schedule. Also, most insurances cover mental health services and therefore therapy can be obtained this way as well.

Myth 9

Therapy is time consuming. If you are avoiding therapy because you feel you don’t have the time please note that most therapists have flexible hours. Many therapists offer as short as 15 minute sessions, session during the day, evening, and weekends and by telephone or skype.

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