Despite the fact that the Counseling profession has expanded exponentially over the last 50 years there are still some pervasive counseling myths that simply refuse to die. Here are what some see as the top three counseling Calgary myths:
- Therapy is for crazy people.
- Therapy is for people who can’t help themselves.
- Once you begin therapy, it never ends and costs are beyond the reach of the average person.
Therapy is only for the Sick and the Crazy
The explosion in the field of psychiatric medication should have put this myth to rest, but unfortunately for many people it hasn’t. A long time ago the principal means of treating serious mental illness was limited to a variety of “talk” therapeutic approaches, like Freudian and Jungian Psychoanalysis and Client Centered Therapies originating with psychologist Carl Rogers. But advances in drugs for treating serious illnesses have changed all that. Although talk therapies are still used, the majority of seriously mentally ill patients are treated by psychiatrists using medication, not by counselors using words.
Therapy is for People not Strong enough to Help Themselves
Time was when Western cultures prized the ability of people to solve their own problems. People who sought professional help were seen as weak and many who shared their feelings were told to “Stand up and act like a man,” to quote a famous line from the movie the Godfather.
Today counselors dot the landscape of all industrialized countries. Talking to a professional about life issues is an accepted practice in the modern world. Counselors specialize in issues ranging from anxiety to career counseling to parenting to substance abuse to grief and mourning to relationships.
There is no longer any shame or stigma associated with undergoing counseling. Every day more and more corporations are adding counseling services to their corporate benefits; many having in-house counseling centers. If large corporations see the value to be gained from therapeutic counseling, why do some in the general public continue to labor under counseling myths?
Therapy is an Expensive and Never-Ending Process
Some cinematic efforts have poked fun at those who seem to be on a never-ending counseling treadmill and pepper their cocktail party conversations with observations made by “my therapist.” While it is true that for some counseling can be a long process, the duration of counseling is to a large degree controlled by the recipient, not the counselor. Many people leave therapy when things begin to get better but later return if things in their lives deteriorate.
Although the costs of private therapists can be high, there are community counseling centers that charge on a sliding scale based on gross income; making counseling affordable to the vast majority of average people. In addition, some corporate insurance and employee benefit programs cover or contribute to the cost of the therapy.
In summary, the reality of counseling in Calgary should displace the myths. Counseling is not only for the very sick and undergoing therapy is not a sign of weakness. There is no time requirement for counseling therapy – it takes as long as it takes.
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