In recent years, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic we have experienced, awareness of the importance of mental health has grown dramatically.. Unfortunately, the population has suffered the aftermath of the new normal we have come to live with and the health care system is far from being prepared to deal with such a demand.
This is because mental health has been a pending issue for decades, and it is only now that it seems that it is beginning to receive the prominence it deserves. Although the process is slow and progressive, it is a good first step for people to begin to naturalize mental health problems and, above all, to receive help from professionals.
The stigma of mental health
Although going to therapy and visiting a psychologist/psychiatrist is much more normalized than it was decades ago, there continues to be a certain amount of suspicion about this issue, and many people are still stigmatized. and there are many who, suffering from major psychological problems, do not seek the help they so desperately need. However, an important part of this rejection stems from ignorance, since psychology and psychotherapy have always been tarnished by numerous false myths.
Many of these erroneous beliefs have been assumed to be true by the general population, which has significantly damaged its image. Although the discipline itself has been damaged by these ideas, those who have been most harmed are those individuals who, out of ignorance, have discarded going to a professional for fear that these myths were true.
Suffering from a psychological problem and not receiving professional care can lead to significant consequences, worsening the situation over time and leading to additional difficulties and even a chronic psychological disorder. A mental health problem undermines the functioning of the person in their daily life and affects all aspects of their life.. In the most serious cases, a damaged mental health without professional treatment can end the life of the person, because unfortunately suicides are a painful reality much more frequent than it has been believed so far.
In this article we will try to compile the most widespread myths about psychotherapy and we will refute each of them. If you too are going through a difficult time and think you may need professional help, read on and discover how many preconceptions you have learned about psychology are false.
What myths about the world of psychology need to be debunked?
As we have been saying, psychology has not had the best image in the general population, as it is surrounded by numerous erroneous beliefs. Let us disprove the most frequent ones.
1. “Crazy” or “weak” people go to psychologists
Who has not heard these statements? Seeing a mental health professional has always been associated with weakness and insanity.. This is by no means true. First of all, there is no phenomenon recognized in science by the name of “madness”.
Those who have traditionally been labeled as “insane” have been people with mental disorders that are now well known, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Fortunately, today these psychiatric problems can be addressed in order to make the person’s life as normal as possible.
In these cases the treatment of choice is pharmacological, although the role of the psychologist is interesting when it comes to maintaining adherence to such treatment, supporting the family and providing management guidelines and different skills for daily life. Going to a psychologist is not for the “weak” either. Asking for help from a professional does not make you weaker. On the contrary, it can make you strongerPsychotherapy can help you solve the psychological problem you are suffering from, you will achieve good mental health and you will acquire strategies to handle the situations you face.
In addition, you will learn to know yourself much better and you will feel supported and listened to in a calm and non-judgmental environment. In short, your overall quality of life will improve. Going to see a psychologist is, contrary to popular belief, a difficult step to take, because recognizing that something is wrong and taking steps to change it requires great strength.
2. The psychologist does the same as a friend, but for a fee.
Another of the erroneous beliefs associated with psychotherapy is that the psychologist merely listens to the problems of his or her patients, just as a good friend would.
This statement is really unfair to psychology professionals, who train for years to acquire a great deal of knowledge about human behavior and the working tools they can use as professionals. Going to therapy does not consist of going to a consulting room to let off steam and that’s it. Although there are phases in which the patient speaks and expresses him/herself, there are many more things that happen in therapy..
The psychologist will be able, according to the information gathered, to determine which variables may be causing and maintaining the problem. Once these have been identified, he/she will intervene to modify them with different types of techniques, thus solving the problem that afflicts the person and improving his/her well-being and quality of life.
3. I don’t want anyone to give me advice
This is another of the most deeply rooted beliefs in relation to the figure of the psychologist. No, a psychologist will never tell you what is best for you or how you should act. On the contrary, he or she will give you tools to make decisions, help you reflect on the issues you need to address, what you want to achieve, what you need, etc. Using a simple metaphor, we could say that the psychologist will never build the house you want, but will give you the tools and materials you need to do it, and will accompany you throughout the construction process until the house is finished. and will accompany you throughout the construction process until the house is finally finished.
4. I am afraid of what the psychologist will think of me.
One of the obstacles that most stop people from going to therapy is the fear of being judged by the psychologist. The truth is that one of the characteristics of psychotherapy is that it is a space in which the person can open up without judgment, since the psychologist will adopt a neutral position in which at no time will pronounce on how the patient should live his or her life. One of the many reasons why going to therapy is helpful for people is because in this space they find, for the first time in their life, a place where they can be themselves without filters, without “shoulds” and without labels..
5. The psychologist just talks
Although there will be times when, of course, the psychologist speaks, the truth is that he or she does not do so in a vacuum. As a professional, his or her words are based on a whole scientific model that tries to understand and explain psychological disorders. Therefore, talking in the context of therapy is not comparable to a standard conversation, because the professional is speaking with the aim of helping the patient. professional speaks with the aim of helping the patient the patient who has come to him/her and not just to fill the silence.
6. I do not believe in psychologists
Psychology is a science, and as such does not allow for questions related to faith. This discipline is based on a scientific foundation thanks to the numerous investigations that have been carried out since its origins, so its postulates do not give room for beliefs about its veracity or not. The scientific method is the only one that delimits what is true in psychology, having no relation with subjective and individual opinions.
7. Psychological therapy requires a lot of time
The truth is that there are different types of therapies and different types of situations depending on each person. The duration of the therapeutic process will vary in each case.Although, of course, we always try to obtain the highest efficiency in order to achieve the expected results in the least number of sessions possible. No good professional will extend the therapy longer than necessary.
8. Psychologists give pills to solve the problem.
Although there are many who think that this statement is true, in reality psychologists cannot prescribe medication of any kind, since this is the competence of physicians. The colleagues in medicine who also work with people’s mental health are psychiatrists.. Although they can prescribe psychotropic drugs, the truth is that their work is not reduced to this, since they have other tools to work with their patients.
9. Psychotherapy looks for the problem in the patient.
Psychotherapy does not start from the idea that there is some defect or problem in the patient. Sometimes, the patient’s distress does not even fit into a specific diagnostic picture, because mental health is much broader than a manual of watertight categories..
Even when there is an official diagnosis, it is not assumed that everything that happens can be justified on the basis of this diagnosis, because sometimes the professional’s view must be broader. The psychologist usually explores the patient’s close circle, his or her relationships, family, etc., since many times an important part of the problem for which he or she comes has had its roots in problematic or harmful interpersonal dynamics.
10. Everyone needs to go to a psychologist
There are some people who, as a result of their good experiences with mental health professionals, have begun to tout that everyone should go to a psychologist. However, going to a psychologist is not a hobby, it is a necessity. It is a necessity, anyone who does not feel well and needs help in order to recover and continue with his or her life to be able to recover and continue with his or her life in a healthy way.