Many people don’t ever seek counseling. Even people who are referred to therapy by a doctor often refuse to seek services. Unfortunately, many individuals and couples don’t get the help they need due to their attitudes about therapy. It’s important to look at your underlying concerns about therapy if you are hesitant to seek help.
Some people don’t seek counseling because they are afraid of what others will think about them. They worry that friends, family or the community might view them as crazy. They also worry that having a “mental health record” will impact their ability to get health or life insurance. They don’t want to be viewed as “crazy.”
Sometimes people think therapy just won’t work. They may feel like talking to someone couldn’t be helpful. They may lack faith in the mental health profession and not trust counselors or people in general.
Others believe that emotional or marital problems should be kept private. Talking to someone else may seem shameful. It may also feel like it is a betrayal against the family to discuss personal problems.
There are differing beliefs about how to best deal with emotional problems. Some people believe problems will work themselves out. People may distract themselves with work and other things to avoid dealing with emotions. Other people don’t want to admit they are having problems and hope that ignoring them may make them go away.
Sometimes people think that talking to a friend or family member is going to be more helpful than talking to a professional. Talking to someone who is not a professional isn’t a substitute for counseling. A trained professional can help you learn new skills and can offer objective insight into your issues.
Men tend to be especially concerned that seeking help is a sign of weakness. It’s important to remember that seeking help for a physical problem is no more a sign of weakness than seeking help for a mental problem. Would you consider it to be a sign of weakness if someone saw a doctor about their diabetes? Seeing a counselor about emotional or marital problems is similar. If the subject of counseling has come up in your household and you haven’t been willing to follow through, examine your underlying fears.