Debunking Myths About Therapists
2 min read
Since I can remember, I have heard people say, “Yes, go see a therapist, they will know what to do, or, “ Go talk to a counselor, they have all the answers and will fix you in no time.” Those, my dear friends are myths. The fact is, a therapist is a person just like you. Granted, the therapist has training, knowledge, and experience that is highly specialized and regulated, but they are not superheroes. The real magic of therapy is how your therapist can help you learn how to help yourself!
Therapy’s ability to help you make changes lies within your therapist’s ability to beautifully reframe many problems. When a problem is reframed or re-examined, it’s viewed from different angles. People do not innately possess the ability to consider experiences or situations through the lenses of all the people involved. We create narratives based on our own perceptions, however, these can become problematic. Your therapist can support your journey of creating narratives that are healthier and more adaptive.
One of the most significant messages that is preached in the graduate training that a therapist goes through, is that therapy is NOT advice-giving. Your therapist cannot, and will not, tell you to break up with your partner, to quit your job, or to move. What your therapist will do instead, is support you in evaluating how to make those decisions for yourself. They will challenge perceptions you are having, they will offer alternative views, and they will help you identify the feelings that are leading you to consider these changes.
A big misconception about therapy is that you will go to therapy and things in your life will change. Sounds simple, right? 55 minutes a week and boom—you’re healed! The reality is, those 55 minutes are giving you tools and skills that are then YOUR responsibility to take with you into the real world. It’s not practical to believe that your therapist is a magician who can just make you feel better. In fact, a big misunderstanding about therapy is that in many instances, you actually feel worse before you start to feel better. This doesn’t mean you should quit going or that your therapist isn’t doing their job well—in fact, it can mean quite the opposite.
Something else to consider when deciding to go to therapy is the fact that your therapist, being another human, has had their own struggles and challenges in life. They have feelings, get upset, and have their own triggers. When making the decision to go to therapy, people often fear they will be judged by their therapist. The truth is, therapists are not infallible, perfect people who decided to pursue this field. Many therapists were brought to this field by their own experience with adversity, or have conquered their own battles with mental health struggles. Once they have completed their own journey to wellness, then the degrees are earned, the practicum is completed, the licensure hours are reached and the ultimate accomplishment of all; the board exam is passed. Now, one who was once broken is able to assist someone else along their journey of healing and discovering their authenticity.
About Sarah Taormino
Sarah Taormino is the Clinical Director for Lifeologie Henderson, as well as an LCPC. She works primarily with adolescents and adults seeking to work through life transitions, LGBTQIA+ issues, relational conflict and dysfunction, self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.View Profile