Five Mental Blocks Holding You Back from Finding a Therapist and How to Move Past Them
1. Believing you can’t be “fixed”
If you believe you are too damaged or “crazy” to get better, it’s pretty hard to seek help. The truth is that this is your own cognitive distortion (aka, an unhelpful way of thinking) that is holding you back. We all have wounds, struggles, and obstacles in life and yours probably seems insurmountable, but there’s good news…it’s not!
Will it take time? Yes. Will there be hard moments? Yes. But keep on going because things can get better!
2. Expecting every therapist to be like your last one
Don’t we all have a therapist horror story? I could write a whole article just on the wild things I’ve heard professionals saying and doing, but don’t allow a bad experience to turn you off to therapy. There are many different therapists out there with unique personalities and approaches. Not everyone is the right fit for you so keep looking if the first one doesn’t jive.
3. Thinking you can’t afford it
Many therapists take insurance and/or can work with you on sliding scale fees. But also, let’s look at the real expense of NOT going to therapy. Are you drinking a bit too much, smoking more than you want to, or impulse shopping to cope with your feelings? That is probably costing you as much as therapy would or maybe more. If your anxiety and panic are impacting your job, that’s costing you income. If your kid is acting up and getting kicked out of school, this may blossom into bigger problems down the road. We pay now or we pay later but when we pay later, the interest is steep! Being proactive and getting help early is one of the best things we can do for ourselves (and our kids).
4. Having unrealistic expectations
Ok this one might not stop you from seeking therapy but it will certainly get in the way of continuing with it. If you think you’re going to feel better after three sessions or never have to do work outside of your session, you’ll probably be disappointed and frustrated. It’s helpful to ask your therapist plenty of questions so you know how they operate and what to expect from treatment.
5. Thinking your therapist will treat you the way family has
Our trauma and relational difficulties often stem from our innermost circles, such as family. It’s second nature to expect more of the same when going to therapy, especially if you’ve been surrounded by disfunction most of your life. But the great thing is that therapy is a chance to learn new ways of relating both by learning skills and by interacting with your therapist. They will model healthy boundaries, assertive communication, and non-judgmental positive regard in your weekly interactions.
Whatever it is that’s holding you back, remember that not everything your brain tells you is true, and you (and your kids) deserve help to handle big feelings and problematic behaviors. Therapy is a safe space to work on whatever you need help with, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask some questions!
What did we miss? If you can think of another block that prevents people from seeking help, drop a comment and let us know!