Often times people are interested in seeking professional help but feel reluctant to take action. Here are some typical barriers to seeking therapy:
- The stigma associated with mental health issues
- Feeling weak because they can’t resolve the problem(s) on their own
- Fear of judgement by others
- Fear of facing problems (scared of opening ‘pandora’s box’ of issues)
- Fear of being vulnerable/emotional in the presence of a therapist
- Financial cost of therapy
- Negative experiences with therapy in the past
- Concern about not connecting with the therapist or feeling heard/understood
- Questioning how “talk therapy” can help resolve or manage life’s problems
If any of the above barriers are stopping you from getting help, consider the following:
- One in five Canadians struggles with depression, anxiety and/or other mental health issues in addition to others who struggle with various daily stressors. Being in good mental health has a positive impact on the way we sleep, concentrate, interact with others, manage daily stressors and maintain good physical health in the same way that being in good physical health does. We visit with our family physician and/or we are referred to a specialist if we have a medical problem that impacts on our physical well-being and functioning. Our emotional well-being deserves the same attention as our physical well-being in order to interact and engage positively in our daily lives.
- Most of the clients we see at the pain and wellness center have tried to manage their problems on their own and/or with support of family and friends. It takes strength and courage to acknowledge that despite one’s best efforts, you still feel stuck in changing your feelings and/or situation and that you need professional assistance to do so. It also takes strength and courage to reach out for professional help when you acknowledge feeling stuck in your ability to even make those efforts.
- A good psychotherapist understands the impact that judgements have on shaping and influencing how we feel about ourselves and others. Our job as psychotherapists, is to provide our clients with a safe, non-judgemental and supportive environment so that they can feel comfortable in expressing their feelings and difficulties without the worry of feeling judged.
- When feelings and problems have been mounting over weeks, months and maybe years, it almost feels like a bottomless pit, with the worst of the feelings buried under layers of other negative feelings and thoughts. A good psychotherapist is always checking the comfort level of the client to be sure that he/she is ready to address a difficult feeling or situation. Sometimes clients have already worked through traumatic or difficult life situations so the focus of therapy is to address the more pressing feelings/problems that are preventing the client from moving forward with his/her life. Typically, once the therapy process begins, and clients have a better understanding of their thoughts and mood, they begin to feel more comfortable addressing their problems and start to develop a trust in their ability to manage or overcome them. As they slowly start to manage their problems more effectively, they start to feel more empowered which gives them more motivation and drive to continue to bring about positive changes in their life.
- During the initial session, our psychotherapists ask their clients about previous experience with psychotherapy. This helps us to understand what worked and/or didn’t work. In the case where our clients had a dissatisfying experience with another psychotherapist, we spend some time addressing their concerns and reassure them that treatment goals reflect their specific need with sensitivity to their vulnerabilities and personality characteristics.
- Unfortunately, in private settings, psychotherapy is not covered through ministry of health services. The financial cost of psychotherapy can be covered partially or wholly through extended health benefits if psychology/psychotherapy is part of your plan. Other ways to manage the cost of psychotherapy is to assess whether or not you can establish a budget for it and if so, let the psychotherapist know your budget to determine how many sessions can be accommodated. This will also determine the focus of therapy if sessions are limited due to funding restrictions.