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nikipedia's avatar

Why do some people resist talk therapy?

Asked by nikipedia (27338 points ) May 4th, 2011

I can understand resisting taking medication (side effects, potential unknown risks…whatever).

But what possible down side is there to talk therapy? There are free or sliding scale counseling options in almost every area of this country. It will not give you cancer or heart disease or lower your libido. It will just help you fix your problem.

I have a friend who recently spent 24 hours crying and moaning to me about an unfortunate situation that has been plaguing him for a year. A freakin’ year. And his excuses for not getting therapy were (1) that it costs money (which he has plenty of) and (2) that his problems might not be the kind of thing the therapist wanted to talk about.

These are not real reasons. These are stupid excuses. What is the real reason? Why do people resist this potential solution?

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21 Answers

yankeetooter's avatar

Is this question directed toward me, @nikipedia ?

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Because he enjoys crying and moaning to you! Maybe he likes the attention or the sympathy, but he is getting his needs met through you and therefore has no interest in a therapist.

janbb's avatar

I believe a lot of people, perhaps particularly men, see paying someone to help you solve problems as a sign of weakness.

yankeetooter's avatar

Some of us have gone this route before and not found it helpful…

klutzaroo's avatar

Because they fear that the real truth will come out and that they might be asked to do something to fix it. Since they’re unwilling to do any work to fix it (even go to therapy), they reject the whole idea.

gailcalled's avatar

Sometimes a person will go into therapy and then be the classic “resistant client.” Even Freud reincarnate would be frustrated.

Occasionally, one does get a therapist with whom one is not compatible. Then, move on and try another.

At my age, I know almost no one who has NOT been in therapy. Talking about “our therapy” is a good conversational gambit.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Cultural pressures, assumptions about therapy, stigma surrounding seeking help, gender notions about what it means to get therapy, etc. in addition to the usual suspects of fear, embarrassment, bad previous experiences and all that.

Mariah's avatar

Some people think it’s some kind of “sign” that they’re “crazy.” :|

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Hell, a friend/colleague of mine yesterday made fun of me when I mentioned something about my psychiatrist and I was blown away that anyone still does that, especially in the public health field.

Raven_Rising's avatar

It’s hard to say. Perhaps it is the official acknowledgement that they have a problem that they cannot solve on their own and as a result they must seek professional help. There is still a pretty big stigma attached to getting psychological help. Maybe they are worried about being labeled “crazy”, “weak” or “nutters”.

Or perhaps they fear the work it will take to fix the problem. Its a difficult thing to look at one’s own weaknesses and self-sabotaging behaviors. It’s also uncomfortable and painful to change those unhealthy behaviors. Some people decide that it’s too much work or that its preferable to live with their familiar dysfunctions rather than finding a solution and living without them.

Or maybe, they saw someone that they were completely incompatible with or someone who was unhelpful so they have written off the entire idea.

Hibernate's avatar

Maybe the are afraid not to reveal too much from their personal life.

rock4ever's avatar

One reason is not having any trust in telling complete and total strangers their problems.

crazyivan's avatar

What if you have problems that talking to under-qualified people won’t help?

roundsquare's avatar

Its also admitting that you can’t solve your problems yourself. A lot of people’s egos are tied to being self-sufficient.

Ron_C's avatar

I believe that Professional Therapist that use talk therapy are expensive and no more successful than talking to a grandparent, close friend, a respected elder, or even a priest or minister.

Often time talking about a problem helps you get in touch with the problem and enables you to confront or even solve it. I don’t believe in going to professionals except as a last resort and then I want one on a PHD level. There are too many counselors and psychists whose main still is extracting money from their client’s pockets.

nikipedia's avatar

@yankeetooter: No, but your narcissism is lending some credence to klutzaroo’s BPD theory.

yankeetooter's avatar

Just kind of funny how it popped up in the middle of everything, but who cares?

downtide's avatar

I found talk therapy to be patently useless for treating my depression. I tried it for over a year, and every single session left me feeling like an emotional wreck.

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guitargirl93's avatar

Probably because they are embarrased

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