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  • mariahhoward

Busting Myths About Therapy

Therapy is a word like love... we use it to mean very different things. We say, “I love you” to express ourselves to our child, our dear friends or in difficult moments with our dying parents. We also say, “I love dark chocolate.” They’re the same words with very different meanings. The same is true with how we talk about therapy. People talk about feeling better after some “retail therapy” or they describe a good night out with friends who listen “as free therapy”. But these aren’t the same as actual psychotherapy. In this post I’ll talk about three myths that surround therapy, in an effort to help reveal why it’s a courageous, attainable and impactful part of life for many people.

Myth 1:Therapy is self-indulgent and egotistical. You’re paying someone just to talk about yourself for an hour!

Fact:It’s actually very brave and challenging to go to therapy. Neither the therapist nor the client has a script, which means that any topic or feeling can emerge for discussion. Unhelpful behaviors, family secrets, old memories…therapy is a safe place in which anything can be explored. If that’s not brave I don’t know what is! When we explore our inner worlds, we get to choose how we want to relate to ourselves and others instead of unconsciously repeating the patterns and habits of our youth. So therapy isn’t just for you…it’s also for your family members, partner(s), friends, co-workers, and future generations. The more self-awareness you have, the more you can understand and relate to the people in your life. You can’t break a family pattern if you don’t know what it is and how it works. So the bottom line is: therapy isn’t selfish, it’s courageous!

Myth 2: Therapy is only for rich white people.

The sad truth is that therapy has been almost exclusively for rich white people, because therapy can be expensive. Due the rampant inequities in our society, the vast majority of people who have the resources to pay for experienced, well-regarded therapist are rich white folks. But that is changing! There are community mental health centers and local resources like Holos Institute where sessions are offered at a sliding scale. The cost of sliding-scale therapy is determined by what the client can afford and what the therapist agrees to be paid. At Holos Institute, all of the therapists are trained in Holistic Psychotherapy which means they can support people in healing body, mind, spirit, etc. Holos and other community mental health agencies are staffed by people who are in training to become therapists; we've got our Master's Degrees in Psychology and we're being supervised by well-seasoned professionals too. In our first session, we can talk about your unique needs and challenges...including your budget. The bottom line is: don’t let the cost of therapy stop you from seeking it out if you feel ready to change!

Myth 3:You just talk and talk in therapy because people don’t really change. It’s true that a therapy session is mostly comprised of talking…but not only talking. I listen to you in a specialized way, based on years of training, and I reflect to you what I hear in a way that is totally unique to you. I also use Expressive Art Therapy techniques to help you explore your inner life through drawing, painting, sculpting, collaging, etc. These forms of expression provide another way to view the issues that brought you to therapy in the first place. But there is a lot of talking back and forth between us, therapist and client. However, it isn’t talking like you do with friends, colleagues or helpful family members. I’m trained in Human Development and a variety of other aspects of psychology, so that I address the themes that run throughout your life, as well as the ways you cope with life’s many stressors. We look at these patterns, carefully, and always respectfully, in order to help you develop alternative ways of seeing yourself and the world around you. Our relationship, and the work you do outside of therapy, can help you to start to live a more authentic and integrated life. Bottom line is: give me a call or email and we can schedule a free 20 minute phone session where we can discuss how therapy with me can help you right now, wherever you find yourself in life.

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