Therapy can be intimidating. After all, it’s sharing some of our deepest concerns and most private worries with a person we don’t know all that well. But most of our fears are misguided, if not flat out wrong. We’ve rounded up a few of the most common fears we hear at Sanvello, and we’ll walk you through them one by one.
1) It’ll be useless
When it feels like there’s no hope, it’s important to know that therapy can be a hope generator. If you’re self-aware and caught in a bad place, it’s easy to think we know everything about our situation and all we need to do is keep working through it. But support is such an integral part of working through things efficiently and smoothly. Think of it like moving furniture: yes, you can probably get that mattress up to the 4th floor by yourself, but it’s gonna be a whole lot faster if you just get someone to pick up the other end.
2) They’re going to lock me up.
First things first, this is a really common fear! But it’s unfounded. No one is waiting outside your therapy session to take you away. Movies and TV have done a lot of damage in convincing us this is a possibility but getting extended care like this is often actually the patient’s decision.
3) They’ll judge me.
It helps to remember that therapists choose their field of work because they want to help people – not judge them. And it’s pretty likely that whatever you want to share with your therapist, they’ve heard it before. When you jump to the conclusion that they’ll judge you, it may be that you’re pre-judging yourself. Give yourself some grace. And if it does feel like a therapist is judging you, it’s OK to find a different therapist.
4) I won’t know what to say.
People have all kinds of novel reactions to therapy. Some people talk non-stop during their first session, others burst into tears before they say anything. If it’s your first time going to therapy, you might even be surprised about what you do say. It’s perfectly OK to go into therapy and say, “I don’t know what to say. I’m just here because I’m sad/frustrated/confused/etc.” Your therapist will get you through the rest.
5) I don’t have it bad enough.
Therapy isn’t a competition. If you break your hand, you don’t say, “well some people break every bone in their body, so why would I get help?” Being tough sounds cool, but being vulnerable and open to support (no matter the support you need) is what makes for a joyful life.
6) I’ll be in therapy forever.
How long you’re in therapy is ultimately your choice. At Sanvello, we focus on therapy treatments that you graduate from. The idea is to help you live a healthier, happier life, not to keep you coming back. If you have a specific goal you’d like to achieve with your therapist, be clear up front. Remember, you’re the customer. You’re not obligated to stay with any therapist.
7) People will think I’m crazy.
Going to therapy can be private. You don’t have to tell anyone that you don’t feel comfortable telling. As we break through stigmas and normalize mental health care, you may even be surprised to find out how many people you know are going to therapy. The idea that you need to be “crazy” is outdated and silly. We hire accountants to do our taxes, we buy cookbooks from professional chefs to get recipes, we hire personal trainers to get in shape, we go to doctors when we want to check in our physical health, and it’s perfectly OK to go to therapists when we want to check in on our mental health.
Therapy can be intimidating, but only because you might not know what to expect. We get it! That’s why we wrote a guide on what to expect, too. Your mental health shapes how you live your life. Take the time to take care of yourself so you feel better every day.
By Kelton Wright Vice President Content, Strategy and Production at Sanvello
Kelton is an author, editor, and athlete passionate about helping people live happier lives. She’s taught mindfulness to NFL coaches, led hundreds of women through cycling clinics, written an Amazon best seller on dating, and worked with brands like Runner’s World, Rapha, Headspace, Teen Vogue, Bicycling Magazine, Thrive Market, Skratch Labs, Peloton Magazine, and more all with the mission of empowering others. She is currently the VP of Content, Strategy, and Production at Sanvello. Follow her on Instagram: @keltonwrites