When people find out I'm a therapist, I hear things like:
"Oh I went to therapy once but...."
"Are you psychoanalyzing me right now?"
"Here, I've got one for you..."
"What would it say about me if..."
Despite the curiosity about therapy and what it could add to your life, some people struggle to move forward. Whether you're "not ready to change," nervous about the process, or worried about the price tag, the pile of excuses keep you from beginning the journey and feeling better. Here are 10 excuses keeping you out of therapy, debunked!
Let's start here, "I'm not ready."
I can't tell you how many times I have heard this from clients and family members alike. "I just don't think it's the right time." "I'll do it when XYZ." Or from family members, "She/he just doesn't want it enough." "I gave up on them a long time ago." "They haven't hit rock bottom."
If you have a glimmer of interest in therapy, just do it! Even if you don't have the "internal motivation," your desire to want it for yourself can grow in time. A deep connection with a supportive therapist can spiral you toward a journey of self healing that you never knew existed. Rock bottom is a figment of your imagination. If things can always get worse, then they can always get better too.
2. On to the next, "It's going to hurt."
This isn't exactly a myth. In fact, it's almost a guarantee. You know that feeling when you finally realize you can buy gel inserts for those awesome shoes in your closet that have been unbearable to wear? Well, therapy helps you overcome the pain that is already there, the pain you've been avoiding, because it's "just too much." It helps you develop solutions so that you can continue on.
3. "It's too expensive."
When I first started therapy, I had an incredible therapist explain it like this (paraphrasing of course)... you are willing to spend x dollars on perishable items each week, food, entertainment, flowers....therapy is a long term investment in yourself. This investment has the potential to change the way you experience every one of those things, and even more concrete matters, like relationships, employment, and future goals. You deserve to give yourself what you have been needing. The financial struggle is temporary, the progress is permanent.
4. "I can't find a therapist I connect with."
There isn't any one perfect person. Just like there isn't any one perfect mate, a good therapist is likely to have a host of qualities that work for you, then they will likely be missing some things you thought you wanted. Start here, do some research on therapy modalities that are most effective for your issue. If it's trauma, find an EMDR therapist. If the issue is addiction, find someone knowledgable in recovery programs. Call the therapists you find and have a conversation. If you connect with them, give them a chance. Remember, the most important indicator of success in therapy is the relationship you have with your therapist. They aren't perfect, but if they have the training, qualifications, and personality you vibe with, you are likely to make forward progress.
5. "It's not the right time."
Here's a news flash.....life will never NOT be stressful. Stress is a very normal part of our experience. Whether it is good or "bad" stress, it is going to happen and we can't stop it. Putting your head down and "just getting through it" can be a symptom of disconnection and/or depression. Therapy can help you get out of that cycle and begin living again instead of just surviving.
There are many excuses for not pursuing therapy, these are just some of the most common ones that I have heard as a mental health professional. If you are unsure about whether or not therapy can help you, seek out the experiences of people that you trust you have pursued therapy. Join online support groups and ask questions. Seek "sound council" from those that have experience, education, and knowledge that you respect. Once you've gathered the information, take a calculated risk. What is the worst that can happen from pursuing better self care? You might just lose your excuses and be forced to live a more fulfilled experience!