General Question

aneedleinthehayy's avatar

Is going to see a pyschologist uncommon and/or weird if no one else but me thinks I need the help?

Asked by aneedleinthehayy (1193points) March 27th, 2009

I seem to have this fixed idea that only people who are very clearly messed up can go see a therapist and that people with only minor personal issues don’t need to see a professional… I find psychology fascinating and would love to interact with a psychologist on a weekly basis to help with my personal issues but I’m worried that people will assume I’m some kind of attention whore or faker or drama queen…Do people think that of people who see a psychologist who aren’t visually bonkers?
I kind of feel like my seemingly normal problems might be more deep-rooted and promblematic and I’m hoping someone other than my neurotic best friend and emotionally distant boyfriend can help me.

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43 Answers

mpjt2005's avatar

Absolutly not, I think it is a good thing to talk to someone who will just listen to what you have to say. They may be able to see things from a different perspective.

dynamicduo's avatar

Going to see a psychologist because you deem it appropriate is NEVER wrong.

Don’t worry about what others assume. What actual relevance do the thoughts of random people play in your life?

marinelife's avatar

I think if you feel you need to go, you should. I have been and do not consider myself (neither do those around me) “bonkers”.

Going just to go in an open-ended way does not really make sense. You should have therapy goals.

The threshold for me about going or not is “Does this behavior, pattern of throught, problem, etc. intefere with my daily life or with me achieving my goals in life?”

dalepetrie's avatar

A psychologist is there to HELP you, you don’t have to be messed up to see one, a good psychologist will be able to tell you if you really need his/her services. But the most important opinion is yours, no one else’s…basically we all need someone to talk to, and if you need to talk to someone who without a personal attachment who can help you get things off your chest and sort out your feelings, then no one can tell you whether it’s appropriate except for you.

EmpressPixie's avatar

No. You are the only one who needs to decide if you want to see a psychologist. They have no idea what is going on in your head or your heart. A psychologist can help you if you are having trouble or fend of trouble before/as it starts. If you want to see one, you absolutely should. There is nothing wrong with it, nothing to be ashamed of, and it is a decision only you can make.

If it helps you at all—my college released statistics as to how many students contacted our on-campus psychologists at some point during the year. It was more than half the students. I went to a good college. Most of us didn’t have severe issues, it was just helpful to talk to someone.

wundayatta's avatar

You don’t have to tell anyone you are going. Your health is none of anyone else’s business.

ubersiren's avatar

@daloon : makes a good point. Just go in secret to see if you even like it. If you feel it actually is helping you, maybe later on you’d feel comfortable telling people you see a therapist. You may be able to explain to them better why you’re going if the therapist helps you realize that reason.

EmpressPixie's avatar

That’s a super good point. I went at the urging of some friends during my job search (I was very anxious about the end of college). I told them as they were the ones urging me to go. But another friend told us after she’d been going for a bit and was more comfortable with the idea.

Some of my friends have probably just never said anything.

resmc's avatar

Nope. No one else has access to your inner life (at least, unless, intentionally or no, you let others in on parts of it). If you can afford it, not the least bit weird to be proactive with your mental health. Others don’t need to know, but if they ask (if you have to run off to an appointment, say) you can very nonchalantly mention it, to discourage them assuming you’re doing so for others.

MacBean's avatar

You won’t find many on Fluther, I don’t think, but in the “real world” there is definitely a lot of prejudice against people who go to therapy. So many people just don’t get it, and think you should just be able to “snap out of it” or something. This is patently ridiculous.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that everyone could use a little therapy. Some people just need it more than others. If you feel it will benefit you, or even if you’re not sure and just want to give it a shot, I say go for it. If you’re worried about what people will think, just don’t tell them. Like daloon said, it’s not anybody else’s business. (But tell the therapist! Maybe working on not caring what people think could be one of your goals!)

Also, keep in mind that you may have to shop around for a therapist that you click with. I’ve been really really lucky but I know a lot of people who have had to try several places and people before they found someone they were genuinely comfortable talking to.

susanc's avatar

Passionately second what MacBean said. We don’t go to our priests any more, so who do we talk to? Our mean boyfriends, our equally-nutty friends?
That’s kind of stupid, isn’t it?
So, good for you to expand your horizons.
Several Points from the Wise Susanc:
First of all, borderline personality disorder is extremely rare; if you had it you would be out of your mind with terror and sorrow and fury at all times so you would not even be writing this question coherently; people are all abuzz about it because it’s so interesting, and people are levelling the diagnosis against people they don’t like or have frustration with, out of ignorance and foolishness. You don’t have it, trust me.
Second of all, it sounds like you and most of the people answering your question don’t know that there are levels of training which include, in order of expense:

psychiatrist (these guys are doctors, so they can prescribe drugs, but they don’t have much training in listening to human beings, so be alert if you go see one – remember, you are the customer);
PhD psychologist (have been trained about as many years as a psychiatrist, but not in anatomy/physiology, therefore cannot prescribe, but on the other hand they have been well trained to listen, diagnose, shut the fuck up till you’ve had a chance to say something, ask the right questions, help you identify goals, and act as your coach); you will find psychoanalysts in this category, and these people will expect you to be in therapy 4x/week for 5 to 20 years, so start lower on the food chain unless you’re very, very rich;
and the huge preponderance of therapists, that is,
M.A.-level therapists, including social workers, marriage-and-family counselors, expressive-arts therapists, and so on. Such people are half as expensive as the above, have almost as good training as the fancier PhD psychologists and sometimes more talent (people getting PhD’s tend to be a little bit on the academic side).
Third of all, do whatever you want. Your first therapeutic goal could, perhaps, be: “I can’t do anything without consulting everyone I know, including perfect strangers. I need to learn that it’s okay for me to do what I think is a good idea.”

You’re welcome, and that will be $120.

adreamofautumn's avatar

The only person that needs to believe you need to be there is you. It’s not up to anyone else to validate your desire to go. If you want to go, go. I’m not “visually bonkers”usually, but I still go even when i’m mostly feeling sane. It’s good help to work through your stuff.

DrBill's avatar

It is not uncommon or weird.

If there is a problem, You can find better help if you go before the small problem becomes a big problem.

gailcalled's avatar

I went to a psychiatrist for years and talked about it. It was among the best experiences of my life. Just make sure to find someone you feel compatible with. Very few people, here or otherwise, think that I am certifiable

RedPowerLady's avatar

I have a BS in Psychology. Have worked in the Counseling field. And have a Counselor I see on a weekly basis. I can tell you that it is very healthy to see a counselor, for whatever issues you have. However if you are paying through insurance or a sliding scale clinic you may not get very far because many many counseling centers can only work with people who can be “labeled”. It’s dumb but part of the insurance system. But if you are paying on your own then you are on a good path. In fact there is one type of counseling that is really just about exploring oneself. It is called existential counseling. Perhaps you should even look for an existential counselor specifically. Here is a brief description of the field: Existential approaches to counseling and psychotherapy focus on exploring the challenges and paradoxes of human existence, rather than psychopathology.
If others don’t support your desire to improve yourself then that is their bad. And you can talk about it in counseling, lol.

susanc's avatar

@gailcalled: But What Does Milo Think?
@RedPowerLady: VERY< VERY COOL.

DrBill's avatar

In my practice, I mostly work with children of divorce, and the greatest success is when they start early, before they feel bad.

gailcalled's avatar

@susanc: He unplugged a lead from my external back-up HD to the DSL modem last night without my noticing. This AM I had an expensive phone call to my computer guru. MIlo does not get a vote on anything this week and is taking a “time-out” by rolling in the newly emerged catnip plants outside.

susanc's avatar

@Gailcalled: That doesn’t sound like a deterrent. It sounds like a reward. This explains the power structure in your house, doesn’t it?
No more snow?

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Marina That is the milestone question. But you may have forgotten about existential counseling. It is often considered open-ended therapy. But can still be very helpful. I had a professor who was an existential counselor. He really enjoyed it. He also enjoyed the money he made from such open-ended counseling and said so often, LOL.

gailcalled's avatar

@susanc:—Good point.

Snow is gone except in the higher elevations. Baby daffs and blue squill blooming next to each other in the woods…like the Swedish flag.

VS's avatar

I don’t think anyone needs to know about your seeing a therapist. And besides, do you really care what they think? I believe it is the highet form of mental health to have someone you can feel comfortable spilling your guts to, so to speak. I have two very good friends, 35+ years each, and we joke all the time that our friendship has saved us untold tens of thousands of dollars on therapy, because we have each other to sound off to. As for the “visually bonkers”, try to remember that not all handicaps are visible, and that is particularly true of mental and emotional handicaps.

Darwin's avatar

Most of the folks I know who are “visually bonkers” are either that way on purpose to get attention or because they want to be comedians, or are in a group home, a sheltered workshop, or a residential facility. The people I see in my psychologist’s office all look perfectly normal to me. Of course, I am in therapy so what do I know?

I go because I have a disabled husband, a son with multiple psychiatric diagnoses and a teenage daughter, I have a history of depression, and I need a place where I can vent and get objective suggestions to keep from going off the deep end myself.

If you think going to a psychologist will help you live a better life, then by all means go see a psychologist. And don’t be afraid to switch to a different psychologist if the one you see first isn’t a good “fit.”

YARNLADY's avatar

@gailcalled @susanc I know I’m not a mod, but these off topic comments of yours are making me confused

In the 1960’s there were a ton of great ‘self help’ phsychology books written, just when I needed it the most. After reading several of them (“I’m OK, You’re OK”; “Games People Play”; “Toward a Psychology of Being”; and more contemporary: “This is not the life I ordered”) I realized that there was a lot of valuable material there. It is necessary when doing ‘self help’ to research as many different sources as possible, to get a better idea of the overall view, and not just one person’s point.

I also attended enough classes to earn a degree in Psychology, and my insurance paid for counseling sessions for me, which were a big help.

Mr_M's avatar

When you get to the point where OTHER people are telling you to get psychiatric help, you’re very far gone. Better to “nip the problem in the bud”, right?

cak's avatar

@gailcalled – Milo can be a naughty boy! I think he’s doing it to keep you on your toes.

@aneedleinthehayy – I have a lot of respect for someone that can make that decision on their own – before people are pushing you to a psychologist. If you feel like you need some help, by all means, go! It’s your choice whether you tell people of don’t tell people, but don’t let someone’s opinion deter you from seeking the help you feel that you need.

Good for you! :)

ninjacolin's avatar

seeing psychologist is a luxury of modern life.
if you can afford to, do it.

susanc's avatar

@yarnlady: You’re right. But Gail is so famous, and so is her cat Milo, that if you wait
awhile you’ll find that you, too, will start including their story in threads that have
nothing to do with smart women, cats, their relationships with one another, or the weather in upstate New York. I promise. And I’m sorry to have confused you.

YARNLADY's avatar

@susanc Once I caught on to what it was, it became less confusing. Apparently only new people have to worry about the rules

gailcalled's avatar

@Yarnlady:All people have to abide by most of the rules, most of the time. Milo, being topcat here, has special privileges. Any unfair behavior is his fault. And he says to tell you that he can knit argyle socks on four double-pointed needles with bobbins.

YARNLADY's avatar

@gailcalled Wow, I’m impressed. All my cat does with yarn is (unprintable)

gailcalled's avatar

@Yarnlady: You see how easy it is to get caught up?

cak's avatar

@Yarnladyyour cat, too? Mine is not as talented as Milo is…in fact, mine needs to go to remedial kitty school.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I think it’s very healthy to get professional help when you need objectivity in your life. Talking to someone helps you sort through your life. Unlike talking to your friends, a psychologist is trained to help you sort through your issues without dragging their own life into it. And you can tell them same thing over and over again, without them getting frustrated with you.

jo_with_no_space's avatar

Not at all. That’s a good thing you can do for yourself.

ShanEnri's avatar

I don’t think so! I think it’s really smart! Maybe if everyone went to a therapist regularly it would help the world be a better place! Besides, all the other people in the waiting room probably think you’re the one that’s really messed up! lol

Ria777's avatar

can’t believe I hadn’t answered this one: not uncommon, not weird and not at all necessary. you can fix your own problems with or without help from your friends.

MacBean's avatar

@Ria777: False. Not everyone can fix their issues that way.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Ria777 You can also “fix” a broken bone yourself, or any other medical problem you encounter, but why do it yourself when a professional has the training and equipment to do it for you quickly, effeciently and correctly.

gailcalled's avatar

@Ria777: You are either naive or have never suffered (or had a friend or family member suffer) from depression that is not just a brled case of the blues. Having one droopy day is also not depression, which is biochemical and complicated.

Ten years ago I stuck a quilting needle into a joint of my index finger; the finger swelled up to the size of a kielbasa within several hours. Had I not gone immediately to the local ER, where I was admitted and administered IV antibiotics for 48 hrs, I would have lost the finger.

Getting professional help is not weird, it is certainly not uncommon and you do NOT have to be clinically bonkers Iwhich is not visible) to reap the rewards of having a trained and dispassionate listener as part of your armamentarium.

You have gotten wise and sound answers from experienced adults. Ignore Ria77.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

There are many serious issues out there that people suffer from – it is amazing to try to get help for them – no one needs to know WHY you’re going

Buttonstc's avatar

Don’t worry too much about not having any clear cut goals in your therapy.

You can always get the ball rolling by trying to figure out why you find yourself attracted to a boyfriend who is “emotionally unavailable.”

:) I’m just sayin’......

Hobosnake's avatar

it’s uncommon in that generally it’s the other way around (everyone but you thinks you need the help), but if you think you have a psychological disorder, you might be helped. I’ve considered getting checked for acute paranoia just to prove it to the world.

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