There has long been a misunderstanding about what therapy is and who it’s for.
There has long been a misunderstanding about what therapy is and who it’s for. It’s a common misconception that you need to hit rock bottom to “qualify” for therapy. Plus, some people think that as long as you have "good friends," you don’t need therapy. (Learn more myths about therapy here.)
In reality, today's therapy is for anyone. It can be preventative, or it can be healing. It can help you if you feel alone and unsupported. On the other hand, it can help you if you feel like your friends are too “biased” to see your perspective. And let's be honest: Sometimes your friends are the ones creating conflict in your life.
Why See a Therapist?
Regardless of how strong your support system is, therapy can help you get an objective perspective.
“Good relationships with peers and loved ones can be really healing and helpful," says Cara Maksimov, LCSW. However, "a friend or a relative has their own personal investment in that relationship that may make it difficult for them to be objective enough to get you the support that you need."
It’s also important to be honest about whether your friends and loved ones are giving you the right kind of support. If you notice you are struggling, but they are telling you it’s “fine” or to “stop being so negative,” you might benefit from talking to a trained professional.
“A therapist is going to fully focus their attention on you and what your needs are ... and it's not a two-way relationship,” says Maksimov. “It's completely about your support and your needs.”
The Changing Perspective of Therapy
Therapy can benefit everyone and anyone, and mental illnesses affect people of all ages. However, Maksimov says she sees generational differences in the openness to therapy.
Older generations may be more secretive or ashamed about seeing a therapist, or the stigma may prevent them from seeking help. On the other hand, younger generations are less likely to hide it, and may even openly discuss therapy with their friends or on social media. This has helped reduce the stigma of mental illnesses.
“I do find that millennials are more likely to talk about therapy, and there's less of the stigma now than there was in the past,” says Maksimov. “I don't know if there's necessarily more mental health issues [among younger generations] but more openness to get treated for mental health.”
The good news: U.S. adults seem to be more open to getting help than ever before. In 2017, 42.6 percent of adults received some type of mental health service, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. If you’re nervous about seeing a therapist, find out what to expect at your first therapy appointment here.
Cara Maksimow is a licensed clinical social worker in New Jersey. She is the founder of Maximize Wellness Counseling and Coaching.
00:00:00.867 --> 00:00:02.799
Welcome to HealthiVoices.
00:00:02.800 --> 00:00:04.632
One of the first questions I have for you is
00:00:04.633 --> 00:00:07.332
if you're struggling and think you might need some help,
00:00:07.333 --> 00:00:09.699
what's the benefit of seeing a therapist versus
00:00:09.700 --> 00:00:14.366
confiding in a friend or a member of the clergy
or somebody else?
00:00:14.367 --> 00:00:18.266
00:00:18.267 --> 00:00:20.999
Good relationships with peers and loved ones
00:00:21.000 --> 00:00:23.966
can be really healing and helpful and beneficial,
00:00:23.967 --> 00:00:25.999
but sometimes, those relationships could also be
00:00:26.000 --> 00:00:28.532
the source of the struggle that you're having,
00:00:28.533 --> 00:00:31.899
and a good friend might not know it,
00:00:31.900 --> 00:00:34.266
but they may be dismissive
00:00:34.267 --> 00:00:37.732
or not taking it seriously enough,
00:00:37.733 --> 00:00:40.866
and invalidating when they're talking with you,
00:00:40.867 --> 00:00:44.032
but a therapist is gonna fully focus their attention
00:00:44.033 --> 00:00:47.166
on you and what your needs are, and help you,
00:00:47.167 --> 00:00:49.499
and it's not a two-way relationship, right?
00:00:49.500 --> 00:00:52.832
It's completely about your support and your needs
00:00:52.833 --> 00:00:54.599
and what you need from that therapist,
00:00:54.600 --> 00:00:57.399
and they're specifically trained on how to help you
00:00:57.400 --> 00:01:00.899
with different types of issues, whereas a friend
00:01:00.900 --> 00:01:04.099
or a relative
00:01:04.100 --> 00:01:08.099
has their own personal investment in that relationship
00:01:08.100 --> 00:01:11.266
that may make it difficult for them to be
00:01:11.267 --> 00:01:13.799
to get you the support that you need.
00:01:13.800 --> 00:01:16.199
So mental health is a hot topic in the media
00:01:16.200 --> 00:01:19.932
and I've been reading that it seems like a lot of people
00:01:19.933 --> 00:01:22.366
have depression and anxiety, but especially
00:01:22.367 --> 00:01:24.266
younger generations, and millennials seem to have
00:01:24.267 --> 00:01:26.532
higher rates of depression, anxiety,
00:01:26.533 --> 00:01:29.632
and even substance abuse, compared to
00:01:29.633 --> 00:01:32.399
and I'm wondering if you see millennials in your practice,
00:01:32.400 --> 00:01:34.699
and if you agree that they tend to be more likely
00:01:34.700 --> 00:01:36.366
to have mental disorders.
00:01:36.367 --> 00:01:37.699
So I do see a lot of millennials.
00:01:37.700 --> 00:01:42.699
I see age ranges from 18 all the way up through 60s, 70s.
00:01:42.700 --> 00:01:46.499
I do find that millennials are more likely
to talk about therapy,
00:01:46.500 --> 00:01:49.766
and there's less of a stigma now than there was
in the past,
00:01:49.767 --> 00:01:53.666
so my clients that are in their 20s are more likely to talk
00:01:53.667 --> 00:01:55.366
about the fact that they're in therapy,
00:01:55.367 --> 00:01:58.666
more likely to seek therapy, than some
00:01:58.667 --> 00:02:00.399
like my generation or above.
00:02:00.400 --> 00:02:03.432
They're more, so, I don't know if there's necessarily more
00:02:03.433 --> 00:02:06.032
mental health issues but more openness to get treated
00:02:06.033 --> 00:02:08.466
for mental health.
The Wall Street Journal calls them
00:02:08.467 --> 00:02:10.699
the Therapy Generation because they seem to be
00:02:10.700 --> 00:02:11.966
very open to it and I'm wondering,
00:02:11.967 --> 00:02:13.699
are they seeking out therapy themselves,
00:02:13.700 --> 00:02:15.599
or are their parents recommending it?
00:02:15.600 --> 00:02:17.532
So, in the 20-somethings, a lot of them
00:02:17.533 --> 00:02:18.966
are seeking it out themselves.
00:02:18.967 --> 00:02:21.899
In fact, I have a few people who have come to me
00:02:21.900 --> 00:02:25.499
concerned that they
00:02:25.500 --> 00:02:26.999
knew that their parents would pay for therapy
00:02:27.000 --> 00:02:29.199
but they didn't want their parents to know
that they were there.
00:02:29.200 --> 00:02:31.732
Because their parents don't believe that maybe
00:02:31.733 --> 00:02:32.999
therapy's the right option.
00:02:33.000 --> 00:02:35.966
Again, it's generational, so they want to go,
00:02:35.967 --> 00:02:39.132
but they don't necessarily have the support of someone
00:02:39.133 --> 00:02:42.866
who's in their 60s or 70s who doesn't necessarily believe
00:02:42.867 --> 00:02:46.166
in the efficacy, the way young people now see the benefit.
00:02:46.167 --> 00:02:46.700