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.
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Welcome to HealthiVoices.
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One of the first questions I have for you is
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if you're struggling and think you might need some help,
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what's the benefit of seeing a therapist versus
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confiding in a friend or a member of the clergy
or somebody else?
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Good relationships with peers and loved ones
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can be really healing and helpful and beneficial,
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but sometimes, those relationships could also be
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the source of the struggle that you're having,
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and a good friend might not know it,
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but they may be dismissive
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or not taking it seriously enough,
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and invalidating when they're talking with you,
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but a therapist is gonna fully focus their attention
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on you and what your needs are, and help you,
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and it's not a two-way relationship, right?
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It's completely about your support and your needs
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and what you need from that therapist,
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and they're specifically trained on how to help you
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with different types of issues, whereas a friend
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or a relative
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has their own personal investment in that relationship
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that may make it difficult for them to be
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to get you the support that you need.
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So mental health is a hot topic in the media
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and I've been reading that it seems like a lot of people
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have depression and anxiety, but especially
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younger generations, and millennials seem to have
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higher rates of depression, anxiety,
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and even substance abuse, compared to
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and I'm wondering if you see millennials in your practice,
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and if you agree that they tend to be more likely
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to have mental disorders.
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So I do see a lot of millennials.
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I see age ranges from 18 all the way up through 60s, 70s.
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I do find that millennials are more likely
to talk about therapy,
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and there's less of a stigma now than there was
in the past,
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so my clients that are in their 20s are more likely to talk
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about the fact that they're in therapy,
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more likely to seek therapy, than some
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like my generation or above.
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They're more, so, I don't know if there's necessarily more
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mental health issues but more openness to get treated
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for mental health.
The Wall Street Journal calls them
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the Therapy Generation because they seem to be
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very open to it and I'm wondering,
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are they seeking out therapy themselves,
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or are their parents recommending it?
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So, in the 20-somethings, a lot of them
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are seeking it out themselves.
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In fact, I have a few people who have come to me
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concerned that they
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knew that their parents would pay for therapy
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but they didn't want their parents to know
that they were there.
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Because their parents don't believe that maybe
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therapy's the right option.
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Again, it's generational, so they want to go,
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but they don't necessarily have the support of someone
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who's in their 60s or 70s who doesn't necessarily believe
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in the efficacy, the way young people now see the benefit.
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