A number of different types of therapies exist across the spectrum of psychological to physical. The following document does not deal with those types and familiarizing you with them. Why? You can find that information out from whoever is referring you or the therapist you are seeking. Instead, let’s address the preconceptions and misunderstandings that are very prevalent in a society that does not understand mental illness very well. Erasing erroneous preconceptions is necessary for the person that wants to utilize therapy as a healing and coping tool. It can be. However, that is largely up to you.
It is absolutely imperative that your therapist is a person you can attempt to be open and honest with. The only way to get mentally well is to treat what is actually going on in the mind. The unwell person experiencing those things may not even realize they are abnormal thought processes because it has been their “normal” for so long. Drag your darkest thoughts out, let them get air, let someone who is informed help you find a healthy way to treat and manage them. If you can’t, then therapy will always seem like a waste of time and provide no real benefit.
Myth: Therapy didn’t do anything for me/someone else!
People the world over will decry how useless therapy is because it does not fix them. Guess what? Nothing will “fix” the mentally ill in a way that is often hoped for. Therapy is about having an open forum to learn how to work through and manage the more difficult parts of mental illness. A good therapist will be nonjudgmental and help teach you techniques to manage your illness yourself. That is a necessity for living a quality life as a person with a mental disorder.
Myth: Therapy is useless because I just can’t open up to people I don’t know!
Well my friend, then you have not yet hit rock bottom. You can make the choice to take the chance and let someone in. Information shared with your therapist or psychiatrist is normally protected from disclosure elsewhere (except child endangerment/abuse which is mandatory reporting). The more I hear this, the more I’m convinced it’s just a convenient excuse to not confront those issues. A person hiding behind this excuse is sabotaging their own attempt at wellness and real help.
I was in Cognitive Therapy for about a year and a half. My therapist was a very intelligent man who was quite knowledgeable about the Disorder. I learned valuable skills that give me great opportunity to identify and derail my unwell thought processes before they can get moving. To me, the experience was an invaluable part of learning how to live positively and manage Bipolar Disorder. Going in, I didn’t feel it was going to provide any help at all because of the media and barrage of information by others of how useless it would be. I was very wrong.