By Jenn Bovee, LCSW, CRADC, CCHt, EMDR
Over the last twenty plus years, I have had the honor and the privilege of working with a lot of different people. Despite all of their many differences, they all have one major thing in common: their reluctance to begin any sort of counseling, therapy, life coaching, or other types of emotional self-improvement. There are a ton of different reasons why people avoid or are unwilling to seek help with emotional or mental health issues — despite the fact that people certainly don’t want to feel depressed, they don’t want to be consumed with anxiety, they don’t want their relationships to be rift with conflict, and they truly do want to live a happier, more fulfilled life.
Many people avoid emotional or mental health counseling due to misconceptions and inaccurate beliefs. Therefore, I’d like to clear up some of this false thinking in hopes that it might encourage more people to get the help that can be so very beneficial. For the purposes of this article, I will use the term counseling and therapist to refer to any type of emotional or mental health guidance and support.
Misconception #1: I can’t afford counseling. If you have insurance, your co-pay is the same as what you would pay for seeing a medical professional. If you don’t have health insurance, there are many practices around Central Illinois that offer a sliding fee scale (which means it’s based on your income) and some even offer a donation-based service (therefore you pay what you can). I regularly talk to the clients we work with about how counseling is an investment in them and their wellbeing. In truth, many people can’t afford not to get counseling!
Misconception #2: It’s a waste of time — I’ll just sit there and rehash the past. The truth is that some therapists do get caught up in talking about every sordid detail of the things that have upset you in the past. We prefer to focus on the reality that you can’t change those experiences; however, you can learn to live your life differently despite those experiences. I typically recommend that people find a therapist who has been certified in subconscious-mind treatment styles and tools because it changes the direction of therapy.
Misconception #3: The therapist isn’t going to talk. I won’t pretend that I have never heard this from clients who have seen previous therapists. It’s crucial to work with a therapist that is a good fit for you. Realize that you might need to try several to find the one that really connects with you. An effective therapist is going to know how to balance saying too much and not saying enough. A skilled therapist is going to give you feedback, direction, and guidance.
Misconception #4: Only people who are diagnosed with a mental illness engage in therapy. Some of the mentally healthiest people I have ever encountered actively participate in therapy. It takes a certain level of accountability and self-awareness to engage in the therapy process. It’s about healing, evolving, and changing your patterns and responses in the world. When we frame it this way, the concepts surrounding therapy change, right?
If you are considering some sort of counseling or therapy, here are some questions to ask before you set up your first appointment:
- Are you in-network with my insurance company? Can you tell me what my co-pay will be?
- Do you treat this specific issue that I’m wanting to address, and how do you typically approach this issue?
- Can you tell me how your sessions are formatted? Will I be doing most of the talking?
- Will you be teaching me different tools and skills to help myself? How does this work for you?
- How will we know when we are done working together?
I absolutely love being able to answer these questions and so many more when clients decide that they are ready to take the plunge into bettering themselves. Asking questions reaffirms that you are dedicated to making sure that we are a good fit and not just accepting the first person you run across. We know that the right mental health professional can make an enormous difference in a person’s life — and that is why I do what I do.
For help with any mental wellness issue, contact the Mental Wellness Center at 309-807-5077 or e-mail at info@TheMentalWellnessCenter.com. Their office is located at 202 N. Prospect Road, Suite 205, Bloomington. They are invested in empowering you to return to — or achieve possibly for the first time ever — a state of complete mental wellness.