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Why Don’t More People Pursue Therapy?

Tens of millions of people in the United States would benefit from going to therapy, but only a fraction of these people actually attend regular sessions. In other words, millions of people are failing to realize their true potential – and may be living unhappier lives because of it.

Rian Mcconnell
May 29, 20239143 Shares142866 Views
Tens of millions of people in the United States would benefit from going to therapy, but only a fraction of these people actually attend regular sessions. In other words, millions of people are failing to realize their true potential – and may be living unhappier lives because of it.
What stops people from pursuing therapy and how can we overcome these obstacles?

The Most Common Reasons People Avoid Therapy

These are some of the most common reasons why people avoid going to therapy:
  • Financial concerns. The first reason is a somewhat understandable one, though there are plenty of workarounds. Some people don't want to go to therapy because they perceive it as too expensive or out of their budget. It's true that therapy can be expensive, especially if you don't have insurance or a lucrative income. But these days, most health insurance policies do offer mental health service coverage, and it's not hard to find a therapist that takes your particular type of insurance. For example, if you have Aetna insurance coverage, you can find anAetna therapistand get access to therapy sessions for a reasonable price. If you don't have health insurance coverage, or if you're financially struggling, you may qualify for a discount; be sure to ask your therapist about payment options and financial incentives that may enable you to attend therapy regularly.
  • Diagnosis anxieties. Some people are afraid of going to therapy because they're afraid of what they might find out. Often, these fears are unnecessarily exaggerated. For example, if you're afraid you might be diagnosed as a psychopath, you probably aren't a psychopath, as most psychopaths wouldn't be concerned with their diagnosis (and also, modern therapists don’t use the term “psychopath” anymore). Additionally, it's important to remember that receiving a diagnosis is an important step on the journey to recovery and a healthy, flourishing life. While some mental health diagnoses can carry some lifetime implications, better understanding your own mental health is never a bad thing.
  • =Misunderstanding of therapy. Reluctance to attend therapy may also be attributable to a fundamental misunderstanding of what therapy is. Therapy is widely depicted in pop culture, in our films, television series, and books. It's not always depicted in a healthy, accurate way. Similarly, if a person has had no exposure to a real therapy session, they may have a very distorted sense of what therapy is like. If you believe therapy is combative, unhelpful, or otherwise severely unpleasant, you'll never want to attend a session. However, many of these feelings are rooted in misconceptions; therapy is a peaceful, nonjudgmental environment in which people can get help for their mental health needs.
  • Susceptibility to social stigma. Unfortunately, there are stillmany types of stigmas against people suffering from mental illnesses– and even people seeking mental health support. If you feel a sense of shame for needing therapy, or if you're afraid of what your friends and family members might think of you if you go to therapy, you'll automatically be less likely to attend. It's important to remember that your therapy session is confidential, and there are ways to attend therapy without the other people in your life knowing about it. Even if they do find out about it, there's absolutely nothing to be ashamed about when pursuing better mental health, better relationships, and a better overall life.
  • Fear of hospitalization, judgment, or failure. People sometimes get stuck on worst-case scenarios when it comes to evaluating therapy as an option. If you're afraid that you might be hospitalized, negatively judged, or categorized as a failure because of your participation in therapy, you might be less likely to attend.
  • Reluctance to open up. Some people aren’t emotionally open, despite the fact that emotional openness is one of the most importantfoundational aspects of healthy relationships. If you understand that therapy is an opportunity to talk about your deepest feelings and your darkest memories, you might be extremely reluctant to move forward. Perhaps ironically, therapy can be one of the greatest tools for nurturing emotional openness – so it can be a solution to the very problem it presents here.
  • Anecdotes of dissatisfied patients. You may also be reluctant to go to therapy because of hearing anecdotes of dissatisfied patients. For example, if you have a close friend who attended therapy regularly and hated every session, you might walk away with a negative outlook. It's valuable to remember that therapy is a bit different for everyone, and if you don't find a great therapist right away, you can always switch to a different therapist later.

The Bottom Line

There are many reasons why people choose not to pursue therapy, and while these feelings are always valid and worth exploring, they're not always rooted in logic or facts. It’s important to view therapy as objectively as possible – and attend a session or two if you’ve never tried it before. You might be surprised to learn just how beneficial it can be.
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