Thinking of starting therapy but holding back? Check out common barrier beliefs & overcoming these
By Jaya Chand (work experience student) & Dr Laura Keyes (Clinical Psychologist)
Belief barriers to starting therapy
Thinking of starting therapy but something holding you back? Check out some common beliefs that tend to get in the way, along with some of our thoughts on how to move past these...
1: ‘I haven’t got time to go therapy!.’
It is so key to take time out for yourself and prioritise your wellbeing. Although it may seem as though you can’t fit in the time and everything else takes priority, your health and wellbeing will always be the foundation on which everything else sits. And remember that as thearpists we try to be as flexible as we can with sessions frequency and days/times.
2: ‘It won’t work for me’
Many people start therapy with apprehensions - this is completely normal, but starting is the first step and when you look back on the journey you have gone through, hopefully you will see it as a positive experience. It’s important to commit even though at times you may feel overwhelmed or hopeless. These are common traits when feeling depressed and sad, so it’s completely normal to have these emotions. It can really help to try and notice the part of you that wants to show up for therapy - that hopeful and optimistic part (however small that part is).
3: ‘I had a negative experience with a therapist before’
It is so unfortunate that you have had a negative experience, but try not to give up on therapy altogether. We aren’t the type of therapists to leave you sitting in uncomfortable silences, and do our upmost to put you at ease and work collaboratively together. There is such variety out there for different therapies and therapists, what may feel like a good ‘fit’ for one person may not be for another. It is important that you take the time to find a qualified and experienced therapist that you are happy to work with on your issues.
4: ‘I’m too embarrassed to talk about my problems!’
Your therapist is there to help you work through your issues, no matter the topic. We know it can feel embarrassing to talk about some topics in particular. But remember therapists must adhere to confidentiality at all times. And in therapy it is very common to discuss private and ‘taboo topics’, such as sex, death and intrusive thoughts. Your therapist wont judge you in any way.
5: ‘I’m afraid I will cry and get upset!’
It is completely normal to cry in therapy, therapists see clients cry every day and it can really feel like a relief to release bottled up emotions. There is no judgment from the therapist at all. Your therapist is experienced in discussing sensitive topics and supporting you with whatever you are going through. And remember crying releases cortisol which in turn relieves stress, so in can actually be quite helpful!
6: ‘I don’t trust people’
It can feel so difficult to open up and trust new people, especially if you have been hurt in the past. Therapists are incredibly empathetic and understanding that trust takes time to build and doesn’t happen overnight. And we follow a code of ethics and confidentially that remains in place at all times. This ‘duty of care’ from therapist to client has trust as the foundation. Over time, building that trust with therapist can lead to a truly positive relationship, therapy experience and healing journey.
7: ‘I’m too anxious to go to therapy’
It’s absolutely understandable if you’re feeling anxious to go to therapy. It’s a big step in seeking help, but it’s the first step and the most important! Meeting someone new can be nerve-wracking but the therapist will put you at ease and make sure you are comfortable before sessions begin. If you’re feeling anxious about physically going to see the therapist, remember sessions can also be carried out remotely in the comfort of your own home.
8: ‘What if people I know find out!’
The therapist keeps the fact that they are seeing you and what you talk about completely confidential, so unless you speak to people about the issues you are facing, no-one will know. Nothing spoken about in the sessions will be relayed to anyone you know personally. And if you and your therapist ever happened to bump into you they would wait to see if you acknowledged them first – this is something that can be good to agree just in case it happens.
9: ‘I feel weak for asking for help’
It’s definitely not weak to ask for help, it really is a very courageous act. To put yourself first and recognise that you need the help to solve your issues can really feel quite empowering. Your therapist will have seen many people from many backgrounds, so they will help you from a place of care with a non-judgemental attitude. Asking for help is one of the most helpful things we can do for ourselves.
10: ‘I want to solve my problems on my own!’
It can feel like you want to solve everything by yourself because only you know how you feel and how you like to deal with issues. However recognising that you may need the help from another person can help you to provide the clarity that you need. Having a experienced therapist discuss your problems from a non-judgemental and professional stance can help you to really see things from another perspective, resolve issues and build new skills.
11: ‘I hate talking about my feelings and emotions!’
Many people avoid talking about their feelings and emotions because it feels so personal and private or just too difficult to voice. However, voicing and unburdening yourself of issues and concerns may be a big part of the solution to the problem. Hearing advice from an experienced therapist can put things in a different perspective which you may not have recognised initially. Therapists talk with people about various issues, so they will use their expertise to make you feel open and comfortable within the sessions.
12: ‘I can’t afford the help’
We know that private therapy comes at a financial cost, which reflects the training, expertise and experience of the therapist themselves. There are lower cost options available, such as seeing a Trainee or more newly qualified therapist, or attending therapy fortnightly instead of weekly, or in blocks of sessions so you can budget accordingly. We try to be as flexible as we can but believe that one’s own mental health is worth investing in.
If you are thinking about therapy with one of our team do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org 07880610449 or through the website contract form.