It’s Therapy Thursday and today we tackle the distorted beliefs you may have that keep you from exploring therapy. As a Professional Counselor, I take treatment of mental health very seriously BUT I also know there are some myths black people have that keep them hesitant about therapy. Your distorted views could be keeping you from accessing good help.
1. Telling All the Family Business
Family history is important when it comes to making an accurate diagnosis or understanding the role your family or childhood may have played. What we don’t do is talk about everybody UNLESS its directly related to what you want to work on.
2. Miss Not Gone Cry
Sometimes as Strong Black Women we’ve been assimilated to wear a superwoman cape for so long, that being vulnerable feels weird. Crying in therapy is normal because you’re unearthing raw emotions that may have been suppressed for quite a while. You don’t have to cry but you also don’t have to feel silly if the tears come up.
3. The Crazy Client
If you still think counseling is only for people with severe mental illness who require round the clock inpatient care, you’d be surprised that everybody from all walks of life–presidents, celebrities, athletes, even therapists go to therapy. You just may not know about it because counseling is confidential.
Being crazy is not something we say anymore. It’s insensitive, etc. etc. But if you think you’re crazy for asking for help, you are not alone. It’s common to have problems asking for help, especially if you have trauma or substance abuse, or if you’re used to handling things on your own. Don’t forget: No One Can Do it ALONE. It feels weird at first, but asking for help actually makes you stronger and more independent in the long run
4. The Damaged Client
Your life does not have to be completely upside down to go to therapy. Most of all you are not damaged. You’re responsible.
5. The Weakest Link Client
Most people think showing their emotions and being vulnerable is a sign of weakness. You might feel shame and guilt. Being able to share your true authentic self makes you the strongest person in the room. We’ve all been through something- When you share your story to yourself, then to someone who can actually help you process and move forward, you will feel LIBERATED. Others will hear your story and feel empowered.
6. The Pill Popper
Alot of people don’t want to go to counseling because they think their therapist will force them to get on medication. Meds alone don’t work. And sometimes counseling alone is less effective. Importantly, meds are a choice. They can be helpful just like taking a Tylenol. Note: Licensed Professional Counselors do not prescribe anything but good behavioral and emotional tools. We’re not psychiatrists or medical doctors.
End of Session Thoughts
We hold ourselves back because of the fear of how we’ll be perceived or what we believe therapy will look like once we’re behind closed doors. What’s stopping you from getting therapy? If you’re currently in therapy, comment below and share what hurdles you had to overcome to take that first step.