What is stopping you from seeking therapy? Or what encouraged you to go to therapy?

Hi everyone. I wanted to understand more about what stops your or a loved one from seeking therapy or asking for help when you/they are struggling? Or if you have sought help, what pushed you to seek it?I'm curious as I was so reluctant to seek therapy or help for many years. I thought this made me 'weak' and i was determined to be a 'strong independent woman' and that therapy was only for 'fucked up' people. I didn't have a drug problem or have a big childhood trauma and i hadn't been to war - i was just struggling with the pressures of life, therefore therapy wasn't for me i thought. Suffering in silence lead to a breakdown which i hid from friends. I was still determined to struggle through and recover alone, until i met my partner who encouraged me to seek a therapist. NOW i wish i had started WAAAAAY sooner. Therapy has been transformational for me - it has given me clarity, understanding, self knowledge, perspective, self acceptance and tools to deal with lifes challenges. I feel therapy should be available to everyone and should be seen as normal as going to the dentist, optician or having a personal trainer. I wish i had not unnecessarily struggled for so many years. I am now on a mission to see if anyone else found it hard to go to therapy, and if you have gone, what encouraged you to go. I'm curious to see if by sharing stories, we can find a way to make this process better so people don't suffer in silence. This is my story, i'm curious what is yours? Thanks for sharing xx
teresaman's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing your journey with therapy! My first experience with therapy was over 8 years ago when I was in school, and a sudden onset of depression came about and it was so crippling that I couldn't attend school for a few months. Before being diagnosed and getting medication, I had sought therapy as a way to understand what was going on, why I was crying all the time, and unpacked a lot of childhood trauma.My first counsellor was at my school's, and at the time I had no idea what was going on and was so afraid, I remember shaking at the office! Since then I've seen many different therapists in a span of about 8 years, and stopped not too long ago during the peak of Covid last year.
HannahBaldovino's profile thumbnail
I'm a huge advocate for therapy!! I feel like EVERYONE can benefit from seeing someone consistently or just on occasion for a "tune-up". My family is super old school who definitely hold a negative connotation of therapy which hilariously kind of helped me actually pursue my MS in counseling! I didn't end up going that route professionally but I loved every bit of my program and learned so much about myself. I would love for people to be more open about their experiences with therapy. I saw my first therapist in college when I had no idea how to deal with a big heartbreak and it was sort of manifesting itself in super unhealthy ways. I saw a couple throughout my younger adult years but it ultimately got too expensive for me. I did also try to reach out to one when I experienced the baby blues but the person I saw at Kaiser WAS AWFUL (spent the entire hour talking about himself and his family). My biggest tip for anyone curious about therapy is to SHOP around because not every therapist is going to be a good fit for you (and not all therapists are good). Don't get discouraged if you happen to come across a bad experience. I'm so glad to hear you had such a positive experience!
I have gone to therapy four different times since I was a graduate student. Each time I have gone for a different reason/situation, and each time I have been able to go for free. The program was either offered to me as a student, through my doctor's office, or my employer at no charge. However, there was always a "deadline" of sorts for how many free sessions I could use before I'd have to start paying. I have never been able to afford a therapist after the free periods. So I would stop therapy altogether, take what I could out of each experience and just continued dealing with the various situations that put me in therapy in the first place on my own.I recently came to the realization that I need consistent therapy. Even though the times I seek out therapy are situational, I think consistent therapy will be really beneficial to me. I don't believe therapy is a "you get what you pay for" type of thing, and I know there are therapists at all different price levels. But the search has always been so daunting. And since you don't always mesh with the first person you talk to, I didn't want to "waste" money on someone if it wasn't going to work out in the long run. (Most of my experiences with therapy have been mediocre. Not bad experiences, but I have struggled to actually take away anything useful/helpful.)And don't even get me started on insurance. Each time I try and figure out how much it's going to cost me, it just leads to more confusion and I give up my search.If there was a way to make the process of finding a therapist, and figuring out the cost, easier/simpler, I would see a therapist in a flash.
MorganLucas's profile thumbnail
Simply, cost. I did more research and I'm surprised to see so many therapists are saying "No, we don't take ANY insurance." now. Their prices are 100$ - 150$, but it takes me a while to earn that.
GinaVriens's profile thumbnail
There are therapist services that bill on a sliding scale. Not sure where you live, but since it’s all virtual now any way check out the training institute in NYC.. I’ve been going for years and now my bf and I are doing joint therapy. Highly recommend it!
lita81gr's profile thumbnail
I do believe therapy is useful and I would love to get back on that train. I’ve been to therapy a few times over the years but still haven’t found the right match for a therapist. Now that’s not exactly what’s keeping me off it right now. I have several issues, and one of them is phone anxiety. I struggle to make phone calls, and to this day that’s usually the way to go when you wanna find a therapist and make an appointment. The whole idea of searching and calling in order to find an appointment, then waiting 2-6 months to actually be seen (there’s lots of backlogs right now), and then possibly not being a good match, well, just thinking about the process gives me anxiety. If it was easier to find a therapist I’d go back for sure. I probably will after I start my new job with new insurance, because why even bother now if I’ll probably be on new insurance before I can get an appointment, and then I’ll have to move and start the process all over again 🙈🙈🙈
I think cultural reasons is one reason why people don’t go. Growing up south Asian, there is huge stigma around mental illness and it’s seen as lesser. On top of that, growing up Muslim, people believe Muslims cannot be depressed (so false lol) and that the reason get depressed is because they don’t have enough faith. These are some reasons I’ve seen as to why people of my background don’t seek therapy. Living in the US I imagine the cost is also a barrier, as well as cultural barriers for people who are not white. I had a white therapist who would sometimes say culturally insensitive stuff like “don’t tell me you guys still do that arranged marriage stuff” (yikes) so it was time to switch. Finding a therapist w a similar religious and/or cultural background took a few weeks.
What pushed me to therapy: When my depression and anxiety started to affect my day-to-day life heavily. I wasn’t able to get out of bed in the morning, I couldn’t concentrate on work/school for more than 10 minutes, I couldn’t sleep without racing thoughts, and most of all, I was lashing out at my partner all the time. And when I started to realize I was being extremely unfair to him, I decided I’d go get diagnosed and to try therapy. What stopped me from seeking help in the beginning and even after trying therapy sessions:Part of me believes that my depression and anxiety is the reason that I have everything that I have today - which includes most of my career wins. Cost is also a big issue - even in Canada, mental health is not something that’s covered by the universal health plan, most employers don’t cover more than $500-$1000 which is only a few sessions.
alyssapetersel's profile thumbnail
I am so grateful to see this conversation. I've been to therapy for a few years now. In grad school, I tried to find a therapist who was a good fit for me and it was really challenging. I actually trained to become a therapist, and also found that on the other side, it's hard to reach clients who are the right fit for you! I started MyWellbeing, which is a little bit like a dating app, but for finding a therapist specifically. You share your preferences (for free) and receive 3 recommendations (for free), who all have availability and are likely to be a good fit for you. You're guaranteed free phone consultations with each, as well, to gauge your fit. So far, we've helped over 30K people!
GinaVriens's profile thumbnail
What an amazing idea! When I first started looking for a therapist, I recall how hard it was to find someone who was a fit for me. I can imagine a pretty large use case for your business. Any chance you might be looking to hire? 🙋🏼‍♀️🙏🤩My superpower is to bring new projects/programs to market by creating customer experience, engagement and partnerships.Perhaps we can start with a conversation? I’m Gina btw.
alyssapetersel's profile thumbnail
Thanks so much, Gina! Really appreciate your warm words, and lovely to emeet you here. We're unfortunately not hiring right now, but I am excited to keep in touch as roles are always evolving!
rebeccawillett's profile thumbnail
I have thought on and off over the past year or so about starting therapy, but what keeps blocking me is primarily the thought of trying to find a therapist that I like. I've had a really bad experience over the past few years finding doctors that I like, so the idea of trying to find someone who I trust and vibe with enough to spill my deepest secrets...well let's just say I'm already emotionally exhausted just thinking about it :(
SeeStephSay's profile thumbnail
Try not to think of it as spilling all your secrets. Think of a good therapist as a mirror. When you're alone, you can't see outside of yourself, no matter how hard you try. Your vision is limited to what you can see from inside your head, so all those thoughts just swirl around and can get twisted into something unrecognizable from what they originally were. But it's hard to see that from your perspective. A good therapist will listen to what you have to say, be able to see the patterns, and hold up a mirror to help you see the bigger picture, too. To help you see things straight, the way they really are, good or bad, so that you can begin to make strides in the right direction.
Mbereimani's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing. Im really trying to prioritize it this year. I know there are things I need to work through so I just need to find a good therapist that I connect with. In terms of finding one, I share your sentiment around searching and then understanding what you’re getting/cost. I’ve been trying to go through my network to start but that’s a slow process for sure
SeeStephSay's profile thumbnail
I grew up as a pastor's daughter, and as much as I love my family and I know that they meant well, my mother always told me that depression didn't exist, and that if I prayed harder, I would feel better. I had a lot of shame and anger associated with this, and it wasn't until I broke down crying in my midwife's office, that she suggested that I might be suffering from postpartum depression, and referred me to a therapist. I am still grateful for her to this day.It took me a long time to realize that not every therapist is a good one, or that every one is a good fit for me, and that's perfectly okay. It's awkward to ask for a different one within the same office, so I have never done that - I've always just quit that office and gone to a different one, entirely, usually because I didn't like that office much, anyway, so it worked out, lol. Insurance is usually a nightmare - I try to find places that are low cost or free. Most recently, my new job offers mental health through Modern Health, which has been absolutely fabulous, and the sessions after the free ones have been affordable with my insurance, thankfully. I posted a reply to Rebecca on this post, also, about thinking of a good therapist as a mirror. How they don't tell you how to live your life - they hold up a mirror to help you see where you need to make changes. I can't take credit for the analogy - one of my good therapists told me about it, and it just made so much sense! (She was wonderful. I moved out of the area and couldn't make the drive to see her anymore. Truly a shame!) And a small silver-lining of the COVID-era is that so many doctor's offices offer Telehealth appointments, now - including therapist's offices! So, you many times, won't even have to drive anywhere to talk to somebody! And if you don't want to talk to your therapist with your entire family or roommates/friends listening, you can do the entire thing in your car, or bathroom, or wherever you feel sufficiently "alone." That's what I do! I have ALL my therapy appointments in my car, so that I can freely blubber "alone." Because, let's be real. I'm gonna cry. A LOT. And, if, like me, you hate talking on the phone, fill out a form on their website! Those are much more common now, too!!! If you're on the fence, fill out a website form, and try out a telehealth visit in your car! Your future self will thank you!
reena's profile thumbnail
Oof I first knew I needed to find a therapist in Feb of 2019. I was having fears and shame around my repressed sexual identity (I now identify as queer/bisexual) and got a referral to see a therapist from my general practitioner. I never contacted the therapist, in large part because her website was a bit blah and I didn't think my issues were "severe" enough to pay $150+ per session. (The whole cost structure of therapy is one that frustrates me even now. I want therapists to have good pay but I also want therapy to be accessible through insurance or more universal healthcare.)I also, quite frankly, didn't love myself enough to go to therapy. For awhile, once the pandemic hit and I was unemployed, I would scroll Instagram and read the posts and infographics and inspirational quotes from therapists. And then realized that I was using them as a substitute for an in-person therapist. If I wanted to really heal and get better, I needed to stop scrolling Instagram for therapists' posts and just get my own damn therapist already.I was lucky enough that my partner's company paid for the first 10 sessions of my therapist. I used their portal to find an incredible therapist who could help me with my difficulties around my sexual and racial identities.Finding a couples therapist was its own challenge. I want to touch on couples therapy because I think there's a lot of stigma around it -- that it means your marriage/relationship is broken and that it means something bad about you. On the contrary, I've been with my partner for 10 years, married for 6; going in for tune ups to improve communication, learn how to better support each other, etc., is so beneficial. Finding one, though, was still hard. We contacted ~15, interviewed 3, and chose a lovely dude who is cutting us some slack financially because of the pandemic and our employment situations. But finding one took MONTHS and we procrastinated on it because half the time, the therapists wouldn't even respond to my emails despite being listed on Psychology Today.So in short, not loving myself enough, cost, and the difficulty of search were big barriers.