Top 3 Myths about Therapy, Counseling, and Coaching and Wake Forest, North Carolina
Long awaited Fall has officially arrived to Wake Forest, North Carolina. My absolute favorite time of the year, signifying a new holiday season with its new beginnings and opportunities (including endless opportunities to add pumpkin spice to every meal, snack, and drink that you consume between now and ThanksgivingJ.
Residents have been patiently watching the leaves change from their usual green to all kinds of freshly vibrant colors. The air had finally reached a temperature that is neither too humid nor too freezing cold. It’s a perfect weather for a lovely family walk at the park or attending one of many fall festivals in the Raleigh/Durham/Triangle area.
For some people, new season signifies a fresh start for their marriage and relationships. Kiddos are back at school, and parents can finally focus on something important that they have been putting off during the summer-their mental health. Maybe you have been thinking about therapy or counseling, and not sure where to start. Maybe you have been debating with yourself about whether investing time and money into therapy is something even worth it. Or maybe you have been doing a great deal of research about it online and feel overwhelmed with all the information. Because internet is freaking overwhelming, and information overload is much more common than you might think. As a licensed relationship therapist based in Wake Forest, NC, I would love to help you understand the therapy process better as well as demystify it. In order too do so, I chose three most common myths about therapy that I keep hearing from clients and friends.
Myth # 1: You have to be weak, flawed or crazy to go see a shrink.
I keep hearing something similar to this statement over and over again from my friends and family members. And it’s very frustrating, to be honest because it’s so far from the truth. You absolutely do not need to be crazy to see a counselor or therapist. Moreover, you don’t even need to have a mental health diagnosis to see a therapist. Most of my clients seek services because they are struggling in their marital relationships, but they are smart, successful, and strong people otherwise. Actually, they are both strong and courageous because they know that they need professional help and they are not ashamed to ask for it.
Unfortunately, our culture had conditioned us to think that vulnerability is a weakness and we should be able to fix ourselves and keep this personal business inside the family. I know my culture (which is Russian) is full of this bullsh*** and people use vodka to “fix” their emotional needs. They will never acknowledge it (especially men), though, because they were taught to be strong and bulletproof.
We are all adults here, so we know that as much we would have liked it to be, life is neither easy nor perfect. And the good news is that life does not have to be perfect for you to feel happy and fulfilled. Life will test you, challenge you, and teach you many meaningful lessons through adversity and difficult experiences. But if you don’t slow down, reflect on such life experiences, and process them with friends or mental health professionals, you will most likely not be able to learn and grow much from it. Now, I say either friends or mental health professionals because we are hardwired for connection and we need support from people who love us and care about us. We thrive when we know we are loved and supported. However, if you are struggling with a mental illness that is negatively impacting your every day functioning, then you especially need to talk to someone with a specialized training, which brings us to the second myth.
Myth # 2: Talking to a family member is just as effective as going to therapy.
Don’t get me wrong-having friends that you could talk to about very intimate life matters is awesome, and you are definitely lucky to have that support system! However, as I mentioned above, if you have been struggling with a particular issue for some time, had already talked to your friends or your mother multiple times about it, but are still feeling lost and stuck, it might be time to see a therapist or counselor. Unlike your friends and family members, therapists have years of mental health related education (minimum of 6 years, including a 4 -year Bachelors Degree and 2 -years Masters Degree; and some have Doctorate Degrees, which can take up to several additional years), trainings (2-3 years of post masters internships before they even get their professional license plus numerous hours of specialized trainings after), and direct experience with real clients. Therefore, most therapists are highly trained and know exactly what they are talking about. It’s just the matter of finding the right fit for you because the relationships between the therapist and the client is one of the highest predictors of successful outcomes. Did you know that the biggest regret that couples have according to research is that “they wish they have started therapy years ago”? Do something today, do not be a statistic!
Myth # 3: Your problems will naturally go away with time if you don’t focus on them.
Seriously? Okay, I will nice. I assure that you that your problems will NOT go away by themselves if you don’t intentionally do anything about them. Everything worth having requires attention, hard work, and dedication. You know this. Why do you expect your marriage, relationships or anxiety be any different? If you keep shoving your feelings under the bed and hoping that time will heal it, you are going to be very disappointed, my friend. The only thing that time will do for you is to make things worse. Simple resolvable concerns will become big overwhelming problems. New life problems will trigger old issues, and you will get stuck in this never ending pattern, that feels very very hopeless. I know, you don’t want that. So, get out of your denial mode and go get help. Believe me, you can get better and wake up actually feeling happy. It’s not easy, but it’s very possible!
I hope this helps you demystify therapy, counseling, psychotherapy, and coaching in Wake Forest, North Carolina. If you are still feeling stuck, feel free to call me at (703) 347-3200 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. I’d be happy to hear about what is happening and help direct you to the right person. If you are looking for help with your relationships or marriage, you can read more about how I can help here.