Being a therapist for 25+ years I’ve heard all sorts of reasons why people don’t go to therapy. Here are the top 5 reasons I hear people say they don’t go to therapy.
- I’m not that depressed, stressed, anxious, fill in the blank.
- I know what’s wrong with me. I should be able to deal with this myself.
- It’s embarrassing.
- It costs too much.
- It’s too hard find a good therapist.
Do any of these sound familiar? I thought so. Continue reading to hear my gazillion years of experience refute these reasons!
5 Reasons *Not* To Go To Therapy
I’m not that depressed, stressed, anxious
1. I’m not that depressed, stressed, anxious, fill in the blank. What drives me crazy is when I hear people say, “Wow, I should have come in months ago.” Yeah, I want to say, so why didn’t you? OK, well, that’s what this article is about. We feel stuck, like life is hard work, but that’s just life, right? This blah feeling is normal, isn’t it? Doesn’t everyone feel this way?
What is depressed enough? What is anxious enough? This is hard to say, in part because we’re the frogs in the pot so sometimes the worst judges. The first time I went to therapy it was at the suggestion of my dad. I was insulted! I was doing fine. To humor him I went and my therapist said, “You are depressed.” Still incredulous I heard him rattle off my symptoms, like, feeling lost, lack of motivation, listlessness, emotional flatness, no great sadness but no joy either. I did not like the image in the mirror he held up to me but he was right and something about how he talked to me, listened to me, sparked a long dormant hope.
I know what’s wrong with me
2. I know what’s wrong with me. I should be able to deal with this myself. All I need to do is work harder, write in my gratitude journal every day, stop eating too much, drinking too much, stop being lazy, get a new job, exercise more, be more positive… So yeah, this is all great and if we can do it we do feel better for a while. Then for some weird reason we go back to the old habits, not writing in our journal, eating and drinking too much, loosing motivation and the negative thoughts creep back louder than ever.
If we’re lucky, we know what we need. We may even know how to do it. So what stops me from doing what I know is good for me? A good therapist is like a good architect. You’ve got the tools, materials and desire to build a bridge. You can see the shore on the other side of the river where you want to go. The architect listens to you, gets behind your vision, sees the spot on the other shore where you want to go and gets to work with you to build the bridge to get there.
It’s embarrassing to go to therapy
3. It’s embarrassing. Stigma is alive and kicking. Except for some neighborhoods in New York City, announcing that you see a therapist may be greeted by the sound of chirping crickets. Or worse. The culture we live in may be accepting and encouraging which would be great, but too often it’s really not. Embarrassment is a close kin to shame which is toxic to growth.
Over the years I’ve seen a change. Thank God. Younger adults are more apt to see going to a therapist like going to any professional for specialized services, an attorney, accountant, medical doctor. Where is the embarrassment in getting your teeth cleaned every six months?
Therapy costs too much
4. Also, I don’t have time. Going to therapy is an investment there’s no way to get around that. You invest more than money. You invest your time and energy. This is all about priorities. If we know the value of something, whether it’s a pair of shoes or new car, we find a way to pay for it. If we really want to do something, like attend a rock concert in Cleveland, we find the time to make it happen. Why is it so much harder to prioritize our own well-being?
It’s too hard find a good therapist
5. Too hard find a good therapist. This one is the easiest because you’re here. At EWN we do our best to get you to the right therapist for you. If we don’t fit what you need, that’s OK, we have the experience and know-how to help you find the best therapist for you. Call us.
It makes me so happy to welcome Emily Becker, LMSW, and Christine Frank, LMSW, to EWN! ~Dr. Aletta
Christine is easy-going, friendly, empathetic, non-judgmental. She’s funny and real in a wonderful down to earth way.
She can help pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults move through those difficult life transitions that can make a person feel lost. Most importantly she can hear your story. She’s a great listener.
Emily’s experience and skills cover treating mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, as well as eating disorders, and the issues around relationships or life stress. In your work together, Emily will use a number of therapeutic models including cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy; however, she strongly believes that it’s the strength of the relationship you create together that generates meaningful change.
Emily will strive to greet each session with a curious mind and an open heart.
From Dr. Aletta: EWN continues to grow! The latest member of our team, Dr. Amy Brook, brings with her seasoned knowledge and experience helping people who fight the demons of depression, anxiety and trauma. Her new workshop “ACT on Depression” provides a model for anyone who has recovered from a major depressive episode and want an effective and kind way to maintain a healthy perspective.
Here she is in her own words:
“I believe that sometimes healing involves telling your story to a compassionate, skilled listener, and that sometimes being stuck in the story is part of the problem. I meet each person I work with where they are in their process and offer skilled collaboration and support in deepening their awareness of their own internal experience in ways that facilitate healing and living a fuller, more satisfying life. I have a general practice with a specialty in trauma treatment and am happy to consult to other professionals.
I draw on mindfulness based approaches to treatment ranging from the skills-based, behavioral strategies of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) to the values-driven approach of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Somatic Experiencing offers a powerful way to access the body’s organic intelligence and restore balance after trauma.
My work at Explore What’s Next will focus on groups and workshops rather than individual therapy. In early November I will be starting an exciting new group, ACT On Depression, based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with a focus on teaching skills to heal from depression.”
For more information or to schedule a thirty minute screening session with Dr. Brook, please contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307.278.9040.
A note from Dr. Aletta: I am so happy to introduce you to Dr. Alla Andelman. She joins the Explore What’s Next Team as a seasoned psychologist with in-depth knowledge and training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Her passionate caring for her patients, appreciation for the fullness of life and good sense of humor fits right in. So that you can get to know her, I asked her a few questions…
Why did you decide to become a psychologist?
I got into psychology for two reasons. First, I attribute my love of understanding people to a children’s book that I read in 2nd grade. It was called “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, by A. Wolf.” This little book tells a story we know very well, but from the point of view of the villain, who, in this story, is not a villain at all, but rather a reasonable character who shares reasons for his actions and how they were misinterpreted. The concept of figuring out the other side of the story blew me away! From then on, I argued for the villains in various books and movies in debates with friends. More importantly, I think it began my development of empathy, which is such an important part of being a psychologist, which is to say, being able to put myself in other people’s shoes and understand their experience from their eyes.
The second reason for going into this profession was somewhat of a fluke. My love of understanding people led to my continued love of reading and writing stories. I was in a Humanities program in high school which required taking extra English and History courses. I chose AP Psychology because I thought it might be interesting and would get me out of Physics! I missed the deadline for applications, but my advisor put me into the class anyway. Needless to say, my mind was blown for the second time in that class. This led to my struggle of choosing between English and Psychology for my college major. Ultimately, real life stories won out over those on the page.
Who do you like to work with?
I love working with a wide range of diverse people. This includes adults and teens who are in a transitional stage of their life. I work with anyone “in between” trying to figure who they are in the new phase they find themselves in. Every phase of life comes with its own challenges. Depression or anxiety often accompanies the confusion and stress of going through puberty, starting college, launching into adulthood, figuring out gender identity or transitioning. Same goes for older adults, looking for a career change, recently widowed or divorced, retirees who are seeking to redefine their lives, all kinds of situations.Read More...
This is a True Story.
A couple walked into a therapist’s office. (OK. It was my office…)
“If you would only stop doing what you’re doing we’d be fine!” yelled one.
“If you would only stop telling me what to do we’d be fine!” growled the other.
“Time out!” said the therapist (me), using the universal ‘T’ hand gesture.
The couple, united in intent at last, stared at me, shocked, as if a monkey had suddenly jumped on my head.
“Couples Therapy is not about having the same fight you have at home here in this office,” I said, “Just because there’s a third party witnessing it won’t make the fight, or your relationship, any better. Let me explain what it takes to be in couples therapy. Then you can decide if you want to continue.”
October 1 looms large for us mental health and medical professionals in the US. From that date on we’re required to switch from using the DSM V or ICD-9 codes for illness to the International Codes for Disease tenth edition (ICD-10 for short).
This is already feeling like too much for a blog post so I’ll try to make my point fast.
If you are a consumer of mental health services the switch doesn’t change much of anything. Your treatment, therapy, medication and general care doesn’t change one bit. The ICD-10, like the DSM V, is a code that is primarily used for third party payment claims, like for insurance or medicare. That’s it really, but if you have questions ask your behavioral healthcare professional.
If you’re a mental health professional I suggest you start by referring to your specific local, state or national professional organization for guidance, the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, National Association of Social Workers, the American Mental Health Counselors Association to name a few. The good news is that the DSM V did most of the heavy lifting for us so that conversion from DSM V to ICD-10 for mental illness diagnoses is fairly seamless.
The good health care professional makes sure everyone from the direct care provider to the billing manager is up to date on stuff like this. Even if it is a pain in the patootie.
Looking for a good therapist? You do not need to look beyond the therapists at Explore What’s Next!
Nicole is a veteran New Yorker who, lucky for us, came to our area about a year ago, moving here with her husband and kids. Nicole’s goal is to create a safe, warm, and respectful space where you can work together to uncover what’s troubling you and relieve your distress. She works with people from young adulthood to the elderly, with depression or anxiety. She also enjoys working with people from the LGBT community and anyone going through a tough life transition.
917.674.6742 / email@example.com.
Michelle comes to us from Virginia, through Boston. She is working toward her Psy.D. in clinical psychology. Fortunately for us, while Michelle takes the final steps in becoming a licensed psychologist, she is able to practice as a mental health counselor with permit (MHC-P). Michelle is a dedicated clinician who has deep experience in helping people struggling with serious mental illness, bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia, as well as anxiety and depression. Michelle works with couples and adult individuals.
716.249.4432, or e-mail me, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Nicole and Michelle are both intelligent, dedicated professionals who take their work seriously without taking themselves too seriously. They are well-grounded in high quality education, experience and training in psychodynamic psychotherapy as well as CBT and DBT. Their love for their work and the empathy they feel for their clients is absolutely authentic.
Like all the therapists at Explore What’s Next, Michelle and Nicole offer an initial consultation free of charge. So if you are looking for a good therapist call today!
Editor’s Note: Explore What’s Next therapist, Nicole Newcomb, LMHC, runs a great group for people who are recovering from an eating disorder. In today’s thin-obsessed society getting back to healthy self-care is no easy task! In this article Nicole describes why she created this program and how it works. ~Dr. Aletta, Director
Sometimes it feels like it is impossible to be happy with your body! Health magazines tell you “Lose 10 lbs in 5 Days!,” media broadcasts of unnatural photo-shopped models and even health insurance billboards show unrealistic expectations.
Every time we turn around someone or something is telling us that we do not look fit enough, thin enough, beautiful enough and therefore we are not good enough. Sadly, when told this repeatedly, we start to believe it! Internalizing all of the messages and expectations from our culture can be very detrimental to our self-esteem and drive us to “improve” ourselves.
However, with unattainable goals to increase our self-worth, we fall into the trap of unhealthy behaviors. It doesn’t take long for calorie counting, excessive exercising and food rules to take over our lives. Quickly, we realize our efforts are still not improving our self-esteem and we push ourselves harder, sometimes to the point of doing things we never thought we would!
Have you become rigid or anxious about your food, work- outs and weight? If you feel like you struggle with chronic body dissatisfaction, skipping meals, over-eating and have intense guilt… then it is time to Break the Rules! Explore how to get out of your head by learning how to break the eating disorder rules!
In this group you will gain an understanding of what it means to have an ED, support from peers who understand your struggle, education about symptoms from a qualified therapist and recovery skills for breaking bad habits and learning how to cope! You can be happy with your body AND be healthy!
Call, text (585.737.4564) or email me (email@example.com) anytime. I’d love to hear from you! ~Nicole Newcomb, LMHC, Group Leader.
Photo courtesy of Malingering via Flickr
Editor’s note: This article was contributed by Kate Maleski, LCSW and EWN psychotherapist. Here, in her first EWN blog post, she announces the formation of a much needed support group for adolescent girls.
Do you ever find yourself thinking… I’m not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, talented enough? Sometimes the biggest challenge in life is just being you. It’s hard to know who “I am” with everything and everyone constantly getting in the way.
I know that I often think to myself “I am the only one who feels this way.” Trust me, you are not the only one. It’s nice to see that others feel the same way you do. That’s why I am so thrilled to announce that in October I am introducing in Buffalo a group that I loved to lead in Cleveland . This group is designed to help adolescent girls feel empowered and learn to feel good about “ME”!
Ok…let’s talk about what you’ll get out of group.
1. “Who am I”? It may sound like an easy question but if you really think about it I bet it’s taking longer to answer than you thought. Maybe you are still asking yourself “Well, what do you mean?” It’s important to think about who you are and not focus on how others view you.
2. Really tough stuff. Gossip, friends, boys, bullying, clicks, fitting in, peer pressure, clothes, body image, school, imperfections, family. This is all a part of life and can be EXTREMELY overwhelming. Let’s talk about it and break it down so we can cope with this tough stuff together!
3. Overcoming negative thinking. Have you ever found yourself thinking “Nobody understands me! I always get picked last! I know she doesn’t like me! I will never feel better!” Those are some pretty tough thoughts that would make ANYONE feel bad. Changing your thinking can change your mood.
4. “Where do I go from here?” That’s easy….UP! Group allows you to be yourself in a safe environment where you will learn that you are not alone! You will learn ways to COPE with stressful events and thoughts and you will make some pretty great friends!
And remember most of all…
“It’s not your job to like me… It’s MINE!” –Byron Katie
I’m Kate Maleski, LCSW. Questions? Give me a call at 716.880.5689 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set up time to chat about group and other stuff that could help you feel less alone.
Photo courtesy The Hamster Factor via Flickr
Editor’s Note: I am proud to introduce you to Kate Maleski, the latest psychotherapist to join the Explore What’s Next team. Kate, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, describes her ideal client like this: “She’s an adolescent between 11 and 16 years old who is convinced she is not smart enough, pretty enough, talented enough or heard enough. She is someone who most people would see and say ‘Wow! She has it all!’ when in reality she feels empty and alone inside.” Kate works equally well with adults and couples in need of support and guidance. Hear more about Kate in her own words…
Do you ever feel alone or that you are the only one to feel this way? There is no reason for you to suffer. Everyone experiences troubles in their life and I want to help you! My passion is in understanding where you are today and guiding you to where you want to be next.
My name is Kate Keating Maleski and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Recently I moved back to my hometown in Buffalo where I am excited to continue my career in helping individuals, couples and families. Before that, I worked in Cleveland, where I completed my B.A. at John Carroll University and my Masters Degree in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University.
For the last eight years I have worked with survivors of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, people recovering from neglect and domestic violence, individuals experiencing grief or betrayal, anyone who has experienced events that have lead them to feel hopeless.
You may be angry, sad, confused, indifferent, or just “numb.” You may even believe that you will never feel safe and happy again.
But you can and you will. Whatever you bring to me we can work together to find the right solution for you.
I have extensive training, and have supervised clinicians, using a strength based approach and cognitive behavioral therapy. With these therapeutic skills I counsel individuals to cope with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, grief, cutting, abuse and trauma to help them feel whole again. I also provide therapy to couples and families that have trouble communicating where there is a lack of trust. In addition, it has been my pleasure to lead groups for adolescents who have been bullied and/or suffer from low self-esteem, who have those feelings of “I just don’t belong.”
If you are looking for a safe, empathic, non-judgmental place to heal and to explore what’s next I invite you to call me today.