What even is therapy?
At its core, therapy is a time set aside for you to talk to an unbiased observer about things going on in your life. The goal is often to improve or maintain a current level of functioning. Anyone can benefit from therapy if they want to work on themselves. Therapy allows for a safe space to talk about feelings and experiences, and learn new ways to cope with stressful things in life. Recently, going to therapy seems to be something everyone is doing. In spite of this, there is still a stigma associated with getting any kind of treatment for mental health. So how do you know if therapy is the right move for you?
Here are some common misconceptions:
- Therapy is only for people with severe mental illness, or people with psychotic disorders. This is wildly untrue. Therapy is available to anyone who has a desire to work on themselves.
- Therapy is lying on a couch facing a wall while saying what comes to mind, often things that have to do with childhood.- This is a caricature of a very specific type of treatment called Psychoanalysis. Dr. Sigmund Freud originally conceptualized psychoanalysis. While psychoanalysis is still practiced, you need to specifically seek out a therapist with this training. They will advertise themselves as an analyst. Therapists will often ask about a person’s childhood in order to better understand them, but it is rarely the only topic explored.
- Therapy will affect my future career potential. Nope. Employers cannot discriminate against someone for seeking mental health treatment, nor do they have access to mental health records without your consent.
Therapists are bound by HIPAA.
- Everyone will know my business if I go to therapy, especially in a small town. This is the same code that protects all of your health information when you go to the doctor’s office. If a therapist needs to speak to someone on your behalf, you will be asked- not forced- to sign a document stating that you are ok with this. You also have the right to refuse to have your information shared. Therapists cannot tell anyone anything you discuss in session unless you are a safety risk to yourself or others, or there are child or elder abuse allegations that need to be reported.
- Therapy means I will have to take medication. Therapists cannot prescribe medication unless they are a psychiatrist or a prescribing psychologist. Many people go to therapy without taking medication.
- Therapy is very expensive. This is not always the case! Many therapists take health insurance and all insurance companies cover mental health to some degree. In the same way you would look for a doctor who takes your insurance, you can use your insurance website to find a therapist who is in network. Sometimes, a session costs as little as a doctor’s visit copay. If you can’t find a therapist in your insurance network, many therapists offer reduced or sliding scale fee sessions. Just ask!
So who is therapy right for?
The short answer is anyone who wants it! An important thing to remember is that you are building a relationship with your therapist, and sometimes it takes time to find the right person. Not every therapist is right for every client. This is a very personal experience, and if you don’t feel comfortable with your therapist, or feel like you are getting what you need, talk to the therapist. If you don’t feel like you can come to an understanding, it is ok to seek a different therapist.
Therapy is a way to learn about yourself. Therapists work with clients to increase emotional insight, understand triggers, decrease symptoms, and increase coping skills. We work with trauma, anxiety, depression, interpersonal relationship problems, family conflict, and so much more.
If you or someone you love might benefit from therapy (and we truly believe that anyone can) give us a call today at 217-203-2008 to schedule an appointment!