Overcoming the Fear of Therapy
When you don’t feel well, you visit your doctor. When you have a toothache, you make a dentist’s appointment. But when your mental health begins to suffer, you’re hesitant to pick up the phone and call a therapist. This unwillingness is not uncommon, but it can be overcome. If fear of therapy has been preventing you from getting the help you need, this post is for you.
About the Common Fear of Therapy
People often fear things that they don’t understand or situations they can’t control. This is why flying in a plane and starting a new job are common examples of situational anxiety. This is also why some people have a fear of therapy. If you’re not sure what’s going to happen to you, or you think you’ll be under the control of someone you don’t know or trust, you might think twice about choosing this form of treatment.
Fear of therapy may also be rooted in misinformation and/or fear of the unknown. Thankfully, mental health treatment in general and therapy in particular aren’t stigmatized to the degree they once were. Unfortunately, though, certain myths and stereotypes persist. When you get the facts, you can overcome your fear of therapy and get the help that can significantly improve your life.
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t be Afraid of Therapy
Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid of therapy:
- Attending a therapy session doesn’t mean that you are broken or flawed. It simply means that you’re struggling with a challenge, and you can benefit from some help.
- Therapy sessions are safe and supportive forums. Whether you are taking part in individual, group, or family therapy, the professional who leads the session will ensure that all participants conduct themselves in a respectful manner.
- Therapists are professionals. You can ask them about their experience and qualifications. If you don’t feel like you are making appropriate progress with a certain therapist or counselor, you can switch to another one. Except in certain extraordinary circumstances, you will always retain control over which services you receive and who provides these services.
- During therapy, you will never be forced to do anything you don’t want to do. Some topics may be difficult for you to talk about, but you will have the time and support you need so that you can address them when you’re ready.
- While you’re in therapy, you won’t merely be a passive recipient of treatment. Therapy is an active, dynamic process. You will collaborate with your therapist and (in the case of group sessions) the other participants.
- Therapy won’t change who you are as a person. You won’t turn into someone that you don’t recognize. But you will have the opportunity to become reacquainted with the best version of yourself.
Don’t ever forget that participating in therapy isn’t a sign of weakness. It is a demonstration of courage and commitment. Also, it is a clear sign that you value your mental health and you’re willing to take the necessary steps to protect your psychological well-being.
Why is Therapy Important for Mental Health?
Ideally, mental health treatment should be a personalized experience. This means that the services people receive can vary considerably depending on several individual factors.
In general, though, two of the most common elements of mental health care are medication and therapy.
Prescription medications can ease some symptoms of anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, and certain other mental health disorders. But medication alone cannot address the full impact of a mental illness. This is why therapy can be so important.
Benefits of Therapy
- Therapy sessions can be sources of valuable information about the disorder you have developed, the treatment process, and maintaining successful recovery.
- Therapy sessions can help you develop more effective communication skills and learn how to advocate for your own needs.
- During individual therapy sessions, you can discuss personal concerns in a confidential environment and receive direct feedback from an experienced professional.
- Group sessions are supportive environments where you can practice stress management, conflict resolution, and other skills that can help you maintain good mental health.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you identify self-defeating thought patterns and maladaptive behaviors, so that you can adopt healthier ways of thinking and acting.
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can help you develop skills in areas such as distress tolerance, mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy can help you overcome emotional pain related to traumatic memories.
In addition to helping you develop specific skills, strategies, and insights, therapy can also demonstrate the value of connecting with others and reaching out for help when you need it.
Untreated mental health disorders can cause you to become isolated. They can also, unfortunately, be a source of shame and guilt. During therapy, you can discover that you are not alone and that you have nothing to be ashamed of.
Begin Mental Health Therapy in Los Angeles, California
Don’t let a fear of therapy stop you from living the healthier life you deserve. Montare Behavioral Health is a trusted source of personalized mental health therapy for adults. Treatment options at our center in Los Angeles, California, include inpatient care, outpatient services, and specialized programming for veterans, young adults, women, professionals, and college students. If you have been impacted by anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or another mental health concern, the Montare Behavioral Health team is here for you. Contact us today to learn how we can help.