Therapy can be scary. There I’ve said it; I’ve brought it out into the open. Therapy means admitting you may have a problem you can’t solve on your own. It means relying on someone else, a virtual stranger at the beginning, and hoping that stranger takes care of your mind, your emotions, your thoughts. Therapy is change. And equally change is scary too. It doesn’t have to be scary. Therapy can mean building a meaningful relationship with a competent professional who’s only interest in this relationship is your own personal growth. A therapist is there for you; there to listen to you when no one else will and offer guidance to help inspire the change you’ve been too afraid or too busy to implement yourself.
Therapy is all about the relationship between the therapist and the client; it’s about the trust that develops between two people that actually gets anything done. That’s why choosing a client is just as important as choosing a therapist. The potential to have that trust be there and be able to work with each other is a must. And let’s face it, not everyone, both client and therapist alike, is meant to work together. Before you choose your therapist there are some things that may be in the way of even deciding to go to therapy in general. Listed below are the top 5 barriers to therapy that most clients face before they even choose to attend therapy. I list them below and then rationalize a way around them; for those of you reading this and still thinking about taking that first step.
1. Too Expensive
Okay, okay, I get it you’re on a budget. Who isn’t these days? And since you’re willing to put a price tag on your quality of life, how much is too much for peace of mind? How much would you pay to be a happier you? Or to change that behavior that is preventing you from being truly happy? How much is too much? Please remember that the therapist has to make a living too. Let’s do some math here. If I’m charging each client about $50 per session, assuming that is the reasonable number you as the client can pay per session, I’d have to logically book around 20 clients a week to make $1,000. And that doesn’t include incidentals such as rent/utilities for an office, supplies or even account for no shows or sick clients.
But I do recognize that traditional therapy is expensive. That’s why I propose a competitive pay structure to help both you and I get the most out of the therapy experience. I can pay the bills and you don’t skip on yours for the service provided. This structure is based on the assumption that the average person stays in therapy approximately 3 months, that’s 12 sessions if done weekly. For those reading this article just ask about my pay structure when setting up an appointment. Okay, so here’s the breakdown of sessions. We’re going to do 4 sessions of 3 to equal 12.
Sessions 1-3 = $50/per session ($150)
Sessions 4-6 = $85/session ($255)
Sessions 7-9 = $115/session ($345)
Sessions 10-12 = $85/session ($255)
That’s $1005 over the course of 3 months
Sessions 1-3 are generally used to build the relationship and get to know one another. It only makes sense to charge less for these three sessions as if you do decide to see another therapist due to not being a match you haven’t invested a heavy amount as of yet. Now sessions 4-6 are where the goals are established if they haven’t been all ready and symptom management and skill building really begin. These sessions help you better manage your symptoms and actually help with the improvement of your day to day life. Sessions 7-9 are generally where any over lapping themes or issues from the past usually come up. These sessions tend to be heavier in content and depth; while still maintaining that skill building from the previous three. Sessions 10-12 are average and are generally re-iterating what was learned in counseling in preparation for termination. This model was based on the average length of a client’s stay in therapy it does not account for the severity of symptoms or individual issues. Your relationship with counseling may be either longer or shorter than what is hypothesized above. Counseling is individualized and based on the individual’s life and what brought them to counseling in the first place.
2. Is Counseling Really Right For Me?
Again, I restate that counseling is about building a caring relationship with a competent professional. There are no ulterior motives or anything to gain on the therapist side. I just want to see you succeed and will do what I can to help you do so. Tell me anyone wouldn’t benefit from a relationship like that. To have someone truly listen to you; actually hear what you’re saying and recognize some of the fallacies in your thought processes that have kept you in that loop you’re currently stuck in. Someone who can correct those thoughts to help you get to a healthier state and be a much happier you. To help you make those better decisions and choose what’s right for you in whatever situation you’re faced with. You are worth it.
Change is scary though and it’s not going to be easy. There will be considerable work on your part if you want to truly commit to being a better person and changing whatever it is that brought you to counseling to begin with. But if you commit and truly take the relationship seriously your therapist will help guide you through to the path of least resistance to becoming who you were meant to be. You don’t have to continue living in the shadow of your depression or under the fear of your anxiety symptoms. You can make a difference. We can make a difference together. Counseling can help guide you to that state of mind where you can handle anything that life throws at you. Your therapist is your guide to changing that behavior, reframing those thoughts, being happier. Anyone can benefit from a healthy therapeutic relationship. So, yes, I say counseling is for you.
3. It Won’t Do Me Any Good; My Problems Are My Own
Of course, your problems are your own and no one knows the things you’ve been through or how you made it to the point you have today. You only share as much as you feel like sharing. You only let someone in to the point you feel comfortable. You have a right to feel the feelings you do and your thoughts are valid. Just because you may be depressed doesn’t mean you have the typical list of depression symptoms to tick off like everyone else with depression. The same goes for anxiety. Your symptoms can differ and even how you are currently handling them can differ from the person sitting next to you with the same diagnosis. You are not your diagnosis but an individual with your own thoughts, feelings and life.
Your problems can be if not solved at least lessened but not if you’re not willing to work on them. You can come to me hoping for a quick fix and for me to hand you some kind of magic elixir only to be disappointed. Therapy takes time; the time it takes for you to put in the work to change what is currently causing your unhappiness or your dissatisfaction. And don’t try and use my pay structure and try and squeeze 12 weeks worth of counseling into the first 3 sessions; there’s a reason it takes that long if not longer. There’s no quick fix. There’s no cure-all remedy to solve all your problems. That’s not what I’m offering here. I’m offering help from someone you can trust to guide you to make wiser decisions, to guide you to being a better you, maybe a happier you if I may be so bold in suggesting. This is a positive relationship that needs to be built, nurtured and respected. There are boundaries that will be set up during the first session and should not be crossed.
You can leave counseling with a better understanding of yourself and how you used to think about certain situations that caused you some sort of mental discomfort or even pain. You can leave counseling with the tools you’ve developed through a positive collaboration with a professional to help guide you through the uncertainties and curves that life may throw at you. You will leave counseling a better person; a better prepared person; just better. Your problems are unique and they are yours. No one is taking that away from you. The question is, do you want to keep them?
4. Counseling is A Sign of Weakness: Facing Stigma
In the past both counseling and mental health have had to deal with extreme stigma and negative influence. Those who sought out counseling were often seen as “crazy” and that is not what anyone wanted to be associated with. But more recently with the spotlight that has been shed on issues such as depression, suicide, anxiety and even substance abuse it has come to the public’s attention that more and more people are suffering from these diagnoses or symptoms. Chances are you know someone who has attempted suicide or suffers from anxiety or depression, if you do not yourself. The rates of both anxiety and depression are at an all time high. But counseling and therapy is still a dirty word and those who receive counseling are still seen as somewhat crazy.
Attempting to better yourself or even admitting there is a problem is often the first step to treating that problem. It’s the AA mantra come to life. Ignoring what is going on inside your own mind, inside your life, will only make it worse and lead, in extreme situations, to further dissatisfaction or heaven-forbid, suicide. If you don’t have a problem then why are you here, reading this now. You want to get the help; you just have to push passed stigma; fight the negativity, and do what’s best for you. You are worth it and it does matter. Help fight the stigma mental health professionals and even clients are facing today. Start talking about your issues; face your problems head on and tell them you will no longer let them rule your life. Be the strong person you can be and start the healing process today.
5. I Don’t Want to Dedicate A Large Amount of Time To Counseling
If you find yourself saying the statement above then maybe you shouldn’t be looking for counseling. This statement is said by someone who is not willing to put in the considerable work it takes to get better. It would just be a waste of both your time and my own if you should seek out counseling; actually go through the trials of vetting a therapist and sitting through the first few sessions only to give up mid-session. Therapy is a process and it takes effort on both sides. I will work just as hard if not harder than you to get you where you want to be. I expect you to do the same. This is a relationship built out of trust and respect. You trust me to take care with your inner most thoughts, desires, and emotions and guide you through the sea of past experiences to help change your current thought patterns and inspire true change. I trust you to walk through your past experiences with me; to share your honest emotions no matter how hard or difficult they may be. I trust that you are willing to be different; want to be different enough to try.
Counseling does take time. It’s not going to be quick and it’s not going to be painless. There will be tears. There will also be laughter, anger, contempt, self hatred, self loathing, and self doubt. There will be many emotions between us as we work together through your past experiences to determine the root cause of why you make these bad decision; why you don’t take care of yourself; why you’re feeling the way you do. I need you to commit to the time it takes to be better. I need you to commit to our trusting relationship. Commit to the new, better you that stands before you in the future with their shoulders thrown back and their head held high. Commit to being better. Commit to being the best. Commit to yourself.
Okay so these are the top 5 reasons why clients talk themselves out of therapy. I hope I’ve given you something to consider not to mention a little insight to who I am as a therapist. Feel free to browse through the site, check out my Who I AM video. Feel free to message me with any questions and I do offer a FREE 15 minute phone consult. I do look forward to hearing from you.
To the Healthier Version of You