Like any worthwhile venture, seeking therapy comes with its own set of challenges. As therapists, don’t we know it? Here are some common hurdles individuals may face when considering therapy and how to overcome them.
1. The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health
One of the significant challenges in seeking therapy is the lingering stigma attached to mental health issues. Many individuals may hesitate to reach out due to fear of judgment or societal misconceptions. As most of us know, Asian cultures often place a strong emphasis on resilience and family honor, which can contribute to the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Hands up if you grew up being told that therapy is for ‘crazy people’. It’s crucial to recognize that seeking therapy is a sign of strength, not weakness. Acknowledging the existence of mental health issues is the first step in breaking the stigma.
2. Fear of the Unknown
Stepping into the therapist’s office for the first time can be intimidating or scary even. The fear of the unknown, coupled with uncertainty about the therapeutic process, may deter some from seeking help. Check out our previous post on what to expect in your first session (and hopefully it calms some of your nerves as a new therapy-goer!) This is why we are here to demystify the therapy experience and reassure you that therapy is a collaborative journey where you and your therapist work together to explore, understand, and overcome challenges.
3. Financial Concerns:
Therapy is an investment in oneself, but financial concerns can pose a significant barrier. Not everyone has the financial means to afford therapy sessions and we certainly wish that there was more financial aid to help increase the accessibility of therapy. However, there are various options available that you can explore, including sliding scale fees, community clinics, and online platforms. You may even consider intern therapists who are supervised regularly. On a similar note, if you have the financial means to afford therapy, it is recommended to pay the appropriate value of therapy. Recognizing and compensating therapists fairly for their expertise ensures the sustainability of mental health services and acknowledges the value of the support provided.
4. Finding the Right Therapist:
The search for the right therapist can be overwhelming. Compatibility with your therapist is really important for a successful therapeutic relationship, more so than what kind of approaches or techniques they use. That said, factors such as therapeutic approach, personality, and expertise should align with your needs. Be patient and proactive in finding the right fit and don’t give up if you had a negative experience. Perhaps this sub-topic deserves its own post because we receive a lot of questions from clients on who they should pick or who is the ‘best therapist’.
5. Vulnerability and Self-Disclosure
Opening up about personal struggles and emotions can be challenging, especially if you have never been allowed and encouraged to. Fear of judgment or the discomfort of being vulnerable is something that gets in the way of individuals being able to fully engage in therapy. Therapists are trained professionals who provide a safe and non-judgmental space for self-disclosure. As Brene Brown says, ‘Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.’
6. Time Commitment:
Balancing therapy sessions with a busy schedule can be a real concern for many. However, prioritizing mental health is an investment in overall well-being. Therapists often offer flexible scheduling options, including evening or weekend appointments. We definitely have some therapists who offer such flexible timing here at ABRI. It’s crucial to communicate your scheduling constraints with your therapist to find a suitable arrangement.
The path of therapy is a journey marked by transformation, yet it is not devoid of challenges (how Yoda-like was this sentence?). Facing and dealing with these challenges is a crucial part of the process. By fighting against stigma, accepting your vulnerabilities, and getting involved in therapy, you can overcome these hurdles and enjoy the good things that therapy brings. Just remember, deciding to start therapy is a great way to take care of yourself and head toward a happier, more fulfilling life.