General Question

gailcalled's avatar

What can we say to folks who find the idea of therapy scary and threatening?

Asked by gailcalled (54644points) February 2nd, 2011

There is a misconception about therapy; the therapist will apportion blame, scold and nag you, and make you feel bad. That is far from the truth. What have your experiences been like?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

15 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

My sanity has been saved by therapy. In the 70s I was suicidal, and because a good therapist took the time, I’m still here. At various other times of my life therapy has kept me from acting impulsively in destructive ways. My current therapist helps me to put things in perspective, which does not sound very sexy, but has made all the difference in my ability to cope with some very difficult family situations.

marinelife's avatar

I was disappointed that a questioner that I recommended therapy to totally rejected it saying he didn’t need it.

Therapy is not perfect, but it is a very useful tool to work through all sorts of personal issues.

The therapist serves as a mirror in which you can see yourself more clearly.

tinyfaery's avatar

Ask them what is scarier, continuing the way they are now with all the pain and trauma involved or sitting across from someone and sharing their feelings.

Seeking therapy and deciding to get sober are similar in many ways, but where they really overlap is in the fact that unless you really want to change there is nothing anyone can do to help you. Convincing someone they need therapy is futile in this respect.

Therapy (and meds) saved my life. I don’t think there can be a better recommendation.

wundayatta's avatar


Ok. That was to the opening question.

I know a few people who have been put in mandatory therapy. They see therapy as a game of trying to tell the therapist what they think he or she wants to hear. I don’t think those people are the only ones who think that some kind of power game is going on.

I know people who think that being in therapy is a sign of weakness. That something is wrong inside your head. That it’s for girls.

Some people believe they’ll be judged by the therapist. If that’s true, I don’t blame anyone from leaving that therapist.

There are people who think that they know better than the therapist and they are smarter and the therapist won’t be able to help.

There are people who don’t want to go because they don’t want anyone else to know they’ve seen a therapist. Therapy is for people with real problems.

I had a pretty good relationship with my most recent therapist. I thought that earlier therapists were fine, too.

On thing I did, which everyone told me to do, is tell the therapist everything. Don’t hold back. Don’t try to hide anything.

I was able to do this for a couple of reasons. First, because I understand HIPPA. If any of this information gets out, they lose their license. Second because I felt like the therapist was my employee. I was hiring her to do certain things. I would rely on her advice and counsel and training, but I could fire her at any time I wanted to. She had to be serving me in a way I wanted, or I’d go somewhere else.

I found her through recommendations and further recommendations as various people were too busy to see me. I kept her because she worked for me in a way that made sense to me. She respected me and didn’t talk down to me or play games with me.

I thought she was playing games, but that was because I had pretty low self-esteem. I couldn’t imagine that anyone would enjoy my company, especially someone who had the problems I had. If she did like me, it was because I paid her to like me. But eventually, I came to believe she liked me in the sense that she would have liked me whether or not I paid her. Like, if I was at a cocktail party, she wouldn’t be trying to get away if we happened to get into a conversation.

It can take a while to develop a relationship with a therapist. It should take a while. You have to build trust. It was helpful, too. I can’t say how helpful, but it did give me a few tools to help me deal with the problems I was there for. Like low self-esteem.

Sunny2's avatar

I found therapy a learning experience. I discovered things I didn’t know about myself. I learned to respect the things I am and to let go of things I thought I was, but am not.
The stigma of mental problems is still alive and well in many people’s minds. They see it as a weakness, as wundyatta said. Or they see treatment as turning someone into a zombie, (so old fashioned.)
The main thing that has changed in my lifetime, as far as mental health goes, is the very effective medications now available. No one has to suffer from depression, from schizophrenia, or bipolar symptoms. And I truly believe that everyone has problems . . . it’s only a matter of which ones, you in particular, have.

YARNLADY's avatar

It worked quite well for me.

wundayatta's avatar

Unfortunately, @Sunny2, there are a small number of people for whom no treatment works.

Sunny2's avatar

@wundayatta I suppose that’s true, since it’s certainly true for any other malady. However, in my mind, reluctance to seek relief is not a rational response to a condition when the possibility for help is there.

Ron_C's avatar

This subject came up as a lunch time conversation, this afternoon. The consensus was that psychiatrists are frightening and unstable. You could possibly find a decent psychologist that can handle a talk therapy but the consensus was that physiatrists enter that profession to find out what is wrong with themselves.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Ron_C Question: how is that different from auto mechanics? See, you can’t always be sure.

allofit's avatar

therapy is so beneficial if you find a good psychologist, i’ve never been to a psychiatrist,but I agree with ron c’s conclusion.

majorrich's avatar

I recently changed therapists, and find the change in methods reaches different parts of my psyche. And in doing so revealed more that I need to be working on. Some of the revelations were not so pleasant, but in the end will be beneficial I hope.

Ron_C's avatar

@YARNLADY I know both. I have met several psychiatrists in both a professional and social environment. The psychiatrists are nothing like the regular doctors that I know. As for auto mechanics, my regular mechanic was in the Rotary club when I was president and my kids went to school his kids and we know the mechanic that takes care of my wife’s car very well. I submit that most mechanics are regular people that may have some ordinary problems. The psychiatrists all seem a little off, some of them were way off the mark.

Ron_C's avatar

@majorrich I had a psychologist help we control a constant pain that I have because of a damaged vein that I have as a result of an accident. He also helped my wife through problems she had with depression.

If you don’t have an elder that is wise and trustworthy, a psychologist is the next best thing.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther