Therapy Questions, Myths, and Misconceptions: Therapy isn't Weak, it's Brave
Updated: Mar 25, 2022
This series will handle misunderstandings and common questions we as therapists encounter from our clients and people in general. Therapy can be scary, but the hope of this series is to remove some of the fear, stigma, and confusion that often accompanies the therapy journey.
A common barrier to people seeking out therapy is the stigma that therapy is for individuals who are “crazy” or “broken.” Although therapy is becoming more common and openly talked about, there is still a large portion of our society that sees therapy as embarrassing—an admission of weakness. But in reality, therapy isn’t weak. It is brave. Here are just a few reasons why that is:
1. Asking for help is intimidating
Most people like to feel like they are capable, intelligent people. It’s the reason why people are willing to do something wrong several times before asking for assistance or directions. Asking for help is admitting that they are not as strong or in-control as they’d like to believe. It takes personal strength and humility to admit a need for help.
2. Being vulnerable takes courage
In the same way asking for help is hard, deciding to open up is frightening. Admitting self-doubt and weaknesses puts individuals at the mercy of the person they are being vulnerable with. It is choosing to let down the walls that keep them safe. But unless they open up, healing becomes impossible.
3. Self-reflection is scary
Looking inwards can be frightening. People hide many things not just from the outside world, but from themselves. There are unexplored and messy feelings and beliefs that exist within all of us. It is much easier in some ways to never self-reflect. Choosing repression and self-numbing is destructive, but it gives an out from facing who we really are.
4. Change is hard
Anyone who has ever tried to break a habit or create a new one knows how frustrating it can be. When it comes to changing beliefs and worldviews, it becomes even harder. Furthermore, the way people see and interact with the world and themselves is meant to help them survive. Choosing change can become a case of “rather the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.” The way they are moving in the world isn’t working. But it is familiar. Transformation is rewarding, but it takes practice and patience.
Deciding to go to therapy can be frightening. It can feel like an admission of personal failure. But in reality, deciding to go to therapy can be a first step to creating personal understanding and peace. Reaching out, opening up, and putting in the work are all indicative of personal strength, not weakness. Therapy is brave.
SJ Knowlton, LPC-A