Common Myths about Counseling

Here are some myths commonly associated with counseling, therapists, and the process. Click on the myth (or the down arrow at the right) to see the facts.

Myth: I have a great support system of friends and family. Someone who does not know me, cannot help me.

Having our family and friends around provides some of the best mediators of stress and venting, however, these individuals can be biased in our favor and less able to offer different perspectives and solutions. While your therapist may not know you personally, this will work out for your benefit. Your therapist is unbiased or impartial when assisting you. All therapists hold the assumption that you know what’s best for yourself, and they are just assisting you along the way.

Myth: Only crazy people or those with serious psychiatric disorders seek out counseling/therapy.

While it’s true that therapy can help those with psychiatric disorders, seeking out a therapist does not mean you are “ill” or “crazy,” it implies that you are taking control of your own life and improving the quality of life for yourself. Counseling/therapy can benefit a wide range of situations in someone’s life such as helping with self-esteem or assertion issues, time management, adjusting to new surroundings, or going through a big life-changing event such as marriage or divorce.

Myth: I am very independent, I don't want to go to counseling because the therapist will just tell me what to do and how to do it.

Your therapist is there to assist you in exploring your feelings. Once you have decided what you want to get out of therapy, your therapist will help you work towards that goal.

Myth: I want to send my daughter (Husband, Mother, etc) to a therapist because she will 'fix' all of their problems.

A good therapist will help you assess your situation, explore concerns/thoughts with you, develop an action plan and then guide you in reaching those goals. While therapists are available to assist their clients through their struggles, therapists are not “quick fixes” for problems. Your therapist is not there to solve your problems. They are there to provide insights and a fresh perspective.

Myth: I am a strong person, I don't need therapy, I can figure it out on my own. Attending therapy is a sign of weakness.

An individual who seeks out counseling is actually the complete opposite of weakness. They are showing courage, and instead of pushing their bad feelings aside they are stepping up and taking charge of their life by resolving their difficulties.

Myth: In Couples counseling, you have to be in a fight or near divorce to attend counseling.

Couples counseling can be beneficial to all couples! Whether experiencing problems in their relationship, they notice the early warning signs, or couples in pre-marital therapy who want to build a solid foundation on which to build their marriage.

Myth: I do not believe in over-medicating myself or my family. If I attend therapy, I will be forced to go on medication and that worries me.

Therapy, is called talk therapy, and does not involve medication. Your therapists do not have a medical degree and do not have the ability to prescribe medication. Medication may not be right for everyone. However, if your therapist feels medication may be helpful, they may suggest combining talk therapy with seeing a psychiatrist. Meeting with a psychiatrist does not automatically mean you will take medication. The ultimate decision is yours.

Myth: I've tried therapy once. It didn't work.

Therapy can be a different experience with each new therapist you meet or for each problem or difficulty that you’re experiencing. Sometimes it may take 2 or 3 counselors before you find the one that works best with you.

Myth: By attending therapy, everyone at work/school will know that I am going.

While attending therapy sessions, the only people who will know that the client is there, are the client and the therapist. Only people you personally tell will know. Therapists are bound to confidentiality and therefore cannot share with anyone that you are attending or discuss your issues unless there is written consent. Things you discuss and the contents of your records are subject to strict legal and ethical standards of confidentiality. Your counselor will go over these details in your first session.

Myth: Therapy lasts for years. I'm not ready to commit to that.

The length of therapy depends on the client’s individual situation and personal goals. This will be discussed during the first few sessions and is completely up to the client. Short-term counseling can last from 6 sessions to one year. On average, most individuals seek out short-term therapy because it’s most helpful in dealing with a few issues. On the other hand, long-term therapy can last several years and is typically reserved for those who have more serious or more issues they are working through.