10 Misconceptions about Seeing a Psychologist Debunked

    The decision to start seeing a psychologist can feel like a huge step for some.

    There are a wide variety of reasons, but the myths and misconceptions surrounding therapy appear to play a role in the situation.

    Thankfully, people are now talking about mental health more than ever, and stigma is decreasing. However, there are still many myths, misunderstandings, assumptions, and preconceptions regarding seeing a psychologist. Some of this false information could discourage people from seeking the assistance that they desperately need.
    That’s why we have set out to debunk some of the most widespread misconceptions and myths about therapy. Let us demystify the process of what really happens when seeing a psychologist.

    Therapy Myths

    Myth #1

    Talking about your feelings and thoughts will only make them worse.
    While it’s true that different methods are effective for different individuals, generally speaking, studies conducted by scientists have shown that our thoughts and feelings get less intense when we talk about them.
    Why is talk therapy effective? Talking about issues with a trusted professional can assist you in working through confusion, solving problems, gaining fresh perspectives, finding answers, and gaining clarity. Talking to someone might also make you feel less isolated and help you put your ideas and feelings into perspective.

    Myth #2

    Psychologists are always able to provide a diagnosis
    Although psychologists are educated to diagnose mental health problems, doing so is not always helpful or relevant, and occasionally clients don’t fit the diagnostic criteria in the first place.
    At Positive Mind Works, we put the needs of the client first. We work with you to understand whether it would be beneficial to consider the potential diagnoses with you. We will also communicate any theories, suggestions, or ideas we may have with you because we think that good therapy comes from honest and open communication. And, if we think you need a more involved assessment, we also have a team of psychiatrists that we can refer you to in house.

    Myth #3

    Since psychologists are experts in mental health, they can’t possibly have troubles with their own mental health, interpersonal relationships, or everyday struggles.
    If only this were the case! Despite the fact that psychologists spend at least six years researching the human mind, this knowledge does not shield us from the difficulties that come with being a human. Like everyone, we still have blind spots and occasionally struggle to put these skills into practise and take care of our own mental health. This is true even after understanding all of the theories and evidence-based practices. We are still progressing and growing, just like everyone else!

    Myth #4

    You should only see a psychologist if you have severe mental health issues
    This is absolutely not the case. While many of our clients may currently have mental health concerns, we also have clients who see us for the following reasons:
    – they want to talk about why they might not feel like their usual selves
    – Need additional support to manage a significant change, such as starting college, getting married, having children, having difficulty conceiving, being diagnosed with a chronic or fatal illness, retiring, or going through a breakup
    – are trying to improve their well-being
    – wish to understand their thoughts better
    – appreciate the importance of a objective and non-judgemental point of view
    – need a safe place to open up about confronting issues
    – would like to feel more connection in their friendships or romantic relationships
    – striving to be more content of satisfied with their life
    – have observed recurring patterns in their life and would like to learn more about these
    – have a particular problem or decision to make – it could be choices regarding careers, health, lifestyle, family or relationships

    Myth #5

    There is no need to continue visiting a psychologist if your symptoms lessen and you begin to feel better.
    When your symptoms become better and you start to feel like your life is getting back on track, it’s common for people to decide to stop going to therapy.
    This makes sense, but it can also be a good time to investigate why particular thought and behaviour patterns keep occurring in your life – while you’re feeling secure and healthy minded.
    Why is it a good idea to consider previous behavioural trends right now? Because you’ll probably find yourself with a clearer mental space to address these when your symptoms get better. You may also realise that you are less defensive or guarded, less vulnerable, and that you feel more at ease discussing some of the patterns you have observed. Basically, you’ll have more energy to go deeper with addressing these difficulties when you feel relatively stable and smooth.

    However, it’s also OK if you don’t want to dig deeper and examine recurring patterns in your life. But counselling can be a fulfilling, enlightening experience for those who genuinely want to undergo this “next level” type of work. You can use it to get to know yourself better.

    Myth #6

    You will find a psychologist immediately who feels like a good fit.
    Just as we don’t always click with everyone we meet, clients and psychologists occasionally don’t click.

    Despite how discouraging it may be, don’t give up on therapy if you meet with a psychologist and don’t connect. Ask for a change. It’s really important and worth pursuing to feel at ease with your therapist and is essential in ensuring a successful therapeutic outcome.

    Finding a psychologist you get along with and trust is important, and our psychologists at Positive Mind Works recognise this. If you decide you’d like to work with a different psychologist, we won’t take it personally or get defensive. We value these exchanges and take pride in being receptive to feedback.

    Myth #7

    Therapy and therapists are too serious

    Of course, every psychologist has a distinctive personality but most of us are not as serious as television dramas portray. We’re really fortunate to work with a group of grounded, unassuming psychologists here at Positive Mind Works. In fact, many members of our team have a great sense of humour and love to enjoy a good joke and discuss the lighter aspects of life with their clients! Remember, having a good sense of humour and laughing does wonders for your mental health.

    Myth #8

    Psychologists will ask too many questions about your childhood
    A psychologist will ask you some questions about your background, particularly your upbringing, when you first see them in order to be able to get an accurate picture of what’s going on for you. This enables the psychologist to learn more about you and to comprehend the wider picture and how it relates to the issue you’re seeking assistance with.
    We recognise that this can occasionally be intimidating. However, we’ll go at your pace and leave it up to you to choose what you do and do not want to discuss.

    Myth #9

    Even if I don’t want to or don’t feel like I need to, I’ll feel forced to keep my appointment.
    We are client-centred psychologists at Positive Mind Works. This means that your needs and wants serve as our compass.

    We may offer advice and counsel regarding the frequency of sessions, but ultimately, we don’t believe it is ethical or beneficial for people to feel pressured or forced to attend their appointments.
    We recognise that some people may only wish to attend a single or a few sessions of therapy at a time, depending on their schedule. Our goal is to have an open discussion about this with you, but we recognise and fully appreciate that, in the end, it’s up to you.

    Myth #10

    Talking to a psychologist is the same as talking to a relative or a friend.
    A psychologist can offer a viewpoint that is distinct and unbiased, in part because they are not involved in your personal life and as a result have no conflict of interest. Psychologists also go through extensive training to learn how to listen in a way that is active, empathic, non-judgemental, and objective. People are frequently able to open up and explore memories, experiences, ideas, anxieties, and sentiments that they might feel reluctant to discuss with friends or family when listening in this particular way.
    Additionally, therapy is a place solely for you. You can let go of the obligation to look after and check in with other people. You have time to focus exclusively on yourself during your sessions. At first, this could be unsettling, but with time, having a place where you can be open and honest about what’s going on for you can feel liberating.
    What next?
    We hope that this article has helped dispel some of the myths about therapy and false beliefs that may have prevented you from scheduling an appointment with a psychologist in the first place. Making the decision to see someone might be a big step, but we believe it is time and effort well spent.
    If you’re ready to begin seeing your own psychologist, you can learn more about our group of skilled practitioners here or get started right away by scheduling an appointment here.
    If you’d prefer to talk with someone about your areas of concerns and get help with finding the right ‘fit’ then please call our friendly reception team on 1800 327 477 (AU) / 0800 327 477 (NZ) Don’t let myths about therapy stop you from getting the help that you need.