5 Reasons Why People Don’t Go To A Therapist or Counselor (When They Really Need To)…
One in five people experience a mental health related concern each year. That amounts to approximately 65 million people. This group includes those experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, relationship challenges or more significant mental health concerns. Of that group, it is reported that only 41% seek therapy or counseling. Some argue that the 41% is overstated and that the actual figure is much smaller than that. If only a fraction of those experiencing a mental health concern seek therapy or counseling, it is concerning to think about what they are doing to cope with this health concern (if they are doing anything at all). There has been a great deal of research on why someone in need of care would not seeking assistance.
Below are 5 possible reasons why people don’t go to a therapist or counselor (when they really need to):
1.) Ridin’ Solo
Singer Jason Derulo had a hit song about eight years ago – “Ridin’ Solo”. The song was upbeat and fun to dance and sing along to. With lycris like, “I’m putting on my shades to cover up my eyes, I’m jumping in my ride, I’m heading out tonight, I’m solo, I’m riding solo, I’m riding solo, I’m riding solo, solo.” As upbeat and fun as the song was, riding solo when dealing with a mental health concern, is not the best strategy for improvement. A skilled therapist can help you process the past and the present, and help plan for the future. The therapist has no baggage and is an unbiased ear for you to speak with. In the mental health arena, it is better to have a teammate or coach to help you to move forward.
2.) I’m Not Crazy
It is a popular misconception that crazy people seek out therapy. The majority of patients who seek out therapy are successful and highly functioning people. They are dealing with a stressor, a life issue, relationship concern, or other mental health related concern. In my practice, we see CEO’s of companies, pro athletes, medical personnel, educators, members of law enforcement, and people from just about every other line of work. We all need to do a better job of undoing the misconception of mental health only being for crazy people.
3.) I Don’t Have the Time
The lack of time is a big reason why people say that they don’t seek out therapy. This is also a very popular reason why people don’t workout. Therapy is surprisingly not very time consuming. If a patient attends a therapy session for 55 minutes once per week, that amounts to less than 1% of the average person’s “awake” time during the week. Perhaps therapists should market their services differently. They should ask people, “If you could invest 1% of your week to feeling better, to be more successful, and to be happier in your relationships, would you do it?”
4.) Show Me The Money
A common misconception is that therapy is expensive. Therapy is surprisingly affordable for the level of care that patients get and the amount of training, expertise, and experience that therapists have.
5.) Shhhhhhh. It’s A Secret!
Some people avoid going to a therapist out of fear that their “secrets”, health information, or conversations will get back to their company, to relatives, or others. Therapists are required by law and their ethics code to keep information and conversations confidential (there are very few exceptions to this that relate to self-harm or the threat of harming others). So, if this has been an obstacle, it is time to schedule an appointment with a therapist. Rest easy, your secrets are safe with the therapist.
Life is too short and we should all be happy, healthy, and productive. If you are currently, experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, challenges in your relationship, or other mental health related concern – take a few moments to find an experienced, skilled and caring therapist. They can help!
Dr. Lena Pearlman is the clinical director and lead therapist at Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates (www.STLmentalhealth.com). The practice has nine licensed therapists. The therapists specialize in stress, anxiety, depression and relationships – and work with patients of all ages, couples and families.