Updated: Apr 2, 2021
Hello you! Browsing yet another therapy website, trying to see if you are ready to begin or continue your healing journey?
Maybe you are on the fence about getting started. 🧐
Allow me to address some common misconceptions, and tell you more about what you can actually expect from therapy.
I encourage you to even let me know in the comments some misconceptions that I may have missed & I may address them in a future post! Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Common Misconception #1: Therapy Is For People With REAL issues! I’m not CRAZY!
Your issues are not FAKE. & please define your use of crazy 🤔 But, okay, I won't pretend that I don't know what you mean, just let me explain. Just because you haven't been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, or other mental health challenge, doesn't dismiss the debilitating self-doubt you may be experiencing, difficulty figuring out why you feel like you keep entering the same relationship, chronically comparing yourself to others, or the belief that you keep sabotaging opportunities 🤔. Oh, & God-forbid someone asks you tell them about your relationship with your family, oh, its good? Maybe it's because you are the "responsible one"? How does that translate to your ability to give self-compassion or be vulnerable with others?
You see where I'm going with this? This is not to poke fun at these issues, it is to prove that every day challenges, belong in therapy. You don't have to live like that, you can thrive and not just "get by" without professional support. Therapy helps you examine and process a variety of issues, connecting themes, digging up their root causes & increasing your quality of life. Therapy is for everyone. Even your therapist should be in therapy.
Can we normalize that?
Common Misconception #2: I Can't Afford Therapy, It's Too Expensive!
So, you can actually afford any and everything you truly want. Yes, I just made that bold statement, but we won't get into that here. What I will speak on though is prioritizing what is important to you. Experiences, materials, or your healing, I don't know, you tell me! & Listen, no judgement, trips, retail therapy, spa dates are bomb 💣 but sis.
You are worth this level of investment in yourself, too. You deserve this level of support. Read that again. This kind of investment in your self care may not be "instagrammable" but your Glow Up will be. Find a therapist that you connect with, that specializes in the things that you need, be okay with interviewing, be okay with changing therapists if someone ends up not working out, and make it happen for yourself the ways you've made other things you've wanted happen.
Common Misconception #3: Some "Shrink" Can't Fix My Problems!
Some people feel that maybe a single therapist cannot be a couples counselor, or a therapist who doesn't have children cannot specialize in perinatal mental health, or if your therapist hasn't been in your exact situation, that they are unequipped to help you. I get how one can arrive to these conclusions, but let me explain a few things.
& the real #1 is...can we not call us shrinks? 😂 Y'all. Your brains are just fine, there will be no shrinking or manipulating of the size of the mind in sessions, I promise! 🤦🏾♀️ 🧠 But, let's get back to the topic at hand 🖐
Your therapist has had issues that they have had to work through. Sometimes I think that this misconception comes from the thought that therapists are these perfect and well-adjusted people and couldn't possibly understand what you must be going through on any level. They may not have gone through your precise situation, however, in combination with lived experiences and clinical expertise, you should be in good hands. Many people who decided to go on the path to becoming a therapist had some issues that led them to want to understand what in the world was going on, and there is no shame in that.
Your therapist does not have to have gone through your exact same scenario to be able to support you. A male OBGYN will never be pregnant and physically push out a baby, but he can successfully deliver thousands. You get where I'm going?
I think some of this misconception comes from the idea that one can read self-help books and DIY (Do It Yourself) heal. While self-help books can be tremendously helpful, you are selling yourself short of the feedback. The healing presence in your space, reflecting back, making connections, and personalizing your healing. This requires vulnerability from you, that self-help techniques do not, that make your healing truly transformative.
& Lastly, the misconception has a POINT. Your therapist actually cannot "Fix Your Problems". & Guess what? No one can. What your therapist can do (in collaboration with you), is help you understand root causes for some problems, help you unlearn limiting beliefs that have resulted from these root causes, help you find coping skills that work for you for life problems, increase your sense of self-awareness & self-esteem, & these are among many other ways your therapist can support you. It actually isn't their job to "fix your problems".
It is your job to cope with and heal from things, and a great responsible way to do that is to obtain the support of a therapist that you connect with.
Common Misconception #4: Therapy is for White People.
This has to be the most heartbreaking 💔 of them all. Let's take a moment of silence as we (hopefully) put this one to rest for good. I know that this idea is rooted in historical lack of access to things, mistrust of medicine, & an ugly oppressive past for many marginalized folks.
An important fact to point out also is that historically, black people and many other marginalized groups have had to handle things without any support, and the ability to "hold it all together" could mean life or death. This has meant strength for so many generations and is worn as a badge of honor because of the resilience it has shown.
We honor this. We hold space for this.
What we know now is that when you make it out of tough situations, whether on a generational level or on an individual level, your brain has been in fight or flight mode. Your brain is literally in survival mode. Some of you know exactly what that means for your state of being. Maybe it's time to give yourself space and permission to exit survival mode, and enter your thriving mode. You DESERVE that. You can even get a therapist that is a reflection of you in some way, understand your slang or your language, where you can totally be yourself! Therapy does not have to be stuffy.
Therapy is Not only for white people, is for hurt people, broken people, stuck people, religious people, witch-y people, them/they/their people, sad people, anxious people, pregnant people, hopeless people, generational curse-breaking people, descendant of slave people, people who pray, people who self-harm, ALL people who desire healing deserve the opportunity to do so. In my opinion, particularly, those who have been marginalized.
All in all, I hope this piece helps you feel more informed about any misconceptions that may have been bouncing around in your mind keeping you from getting the healing that you actually deserve.
I want to see you well, our entire team at InnerWork Wellness wants to see you well. That is our mission, and it is why we are here.
If you're ready to make the next step, I encourage you to book your free consultation with one of our therapists and address anything else that may keep you from moving forward.
In all your ways,
Tolaya Geredine, MA, LCPC