Top 7 Therapy Myths Debunked
Talk therapy may be getting a bad rap. Here's the reality.
I don’t need therapy, just drugs.
“This is never the answer,” says Leiberman, host of Internet radio show Dr. Carole’s Couch. “If you need medication to treat your mental health issues, then you definitely need therapy as well.”
The medication, she says, is just a bandage. Without therapy as part of your treatment plan, you run the risk of just covering up your symptoms and not treating the underlying issue.
“Therapy is what gets to the root of the problem,” Leiberman says. “It’s talking about a person’s issues, learning more about where they stem from, and understanding and treating the cause.”
The real value to your mental health comes from uncovering your issues, gaining insight into what went wrong, and then starting to look for a better path forward, Leiberman says.
It’s not going to work.
Though almost anyone could benefit from a good dose of professional discussion about the state of their mental health, many people are doubtful it will do them any good.
“Lots of people have misinformation about therapy,” Berman says. “It’s not a passive experience in which you can come in, talk, leave, and get better. It only works if you work at it, and if you are an active participant in making a difference in your own life.”
Fear also plays a role in creating skepticism about the value of therapy for some people.
“When people are resistant to therapy, they are generally afraid,” Lieberman says. “They know there are issues they need to deal with and they are fearful of addressing them, which creates a barrier that comes through as, “It’s not going to work.”
But once a person overcomes the fear and starts to engage in the process, Lieberman says they’re headed in the right direction.
It’s too expensive.
You don’t have to always pay top dollar for expert help.
“Many universities and colleges with mental health programs are associated with clinics where their students train -- and don’t get paid for their time,” Berman says.
In order to be licensed, she says, the students have to do a minimum of 3,000 clinic hours under supervision. So it’s like getting two for the price of one, except it’s low-cost (or free) in some cases.
“They’re being graded and judged on how they treat you, and a licensed professional is guiding them in the background,” Berman says. “So the care you are getting is actually very good.”
Health insurance companies also provide some mental health coverage, but whether a therapist takes insurance varies. If they don’t, many offer sliding fee scales based on income for people who need help but can’t afford it.
“Most therapists are do-gooders,” Berman says. “They want to help people, so if someone needs care but can’t afford it, you can usually negotiate a fair fee.”