Life lessons

Therapy is for the weak…

…or so people seem to think.

I find it interesting that so many people associate going to therapy as a sign of weakness. Apparently, seeking help for difficulties you are having is not a good thing. A brave person would try and put on a face and cope with all the shit that comes their way.

In fact, taking a step towards getting help in the form of therapy is one of the most courageous acts a person can do in their lifetime. It takes a lot of guts to first realise you have a problem and secondly, you cannot cope with it single handedly. It takes even more guts to take that step — an overwhelming one — and see a stranger to request that help. And finally, it takes so much more strength to disclose your private details…your private worries and fears…to that stranger.

It’s probably more so for men. The expectation for men is that they have to be “strong” in that they are not supposed to show any emotions such as anxiety or sadness or pain. Anger is good. So going to see a therapist for any of this is almost taboo. After all, they would be admitting ‘weakness’ by doing  so, right?

If only people understood just how much courage it takes to seek therapy, things would probably be a lot more different. When I hear about men in particular, and see boys, who admit to having a problem and seeking therapy, I want to tell them how brave they are. In general, with the adolescents and kids and families I see, I make it a point to tell them how great it is that they are taking a step to seeking help. It’s no mean feat.

So to all the people out there who think therapy is for the weak…take my word…it isn’t. They are a lot stronger than those bottling it all up and wearing a mask for the world while living with their inner demons.

And to those of you who have taken that step to seek therapy or counselling —- good on you! It’s a hard task. But I hope it has been worth your while.

And finally, to those of you are on the fence — yes, it takes a lot of guts to ask for help. But it’s a brave thing you can do to help yourself.

It does not mean you are weak.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

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  • Reply
    Prats
    February 3, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Absolutely agree…. It takes a lot to accept the fact that you need help and another loads to actually seek out help. I don’t understand its still a hell of a social stigma even in today’s age

  • Reply
    phoenixritu
    February 3, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Therapy is good, I wonder why a person who wont mind using medicines for a sprain or for a chronic ailment shies away from it

  • Reply
    Swaram
    February 3, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Well said PB! I respect ppl who realize they need help and go for it in time!

  • Reply
    Scribby
    February 3, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    hmm..you’re right..it takes a lot of courage to come upfront and admit and ask for help…but there must be downsides too to this,isn’t it? you know it better…may be people fear the after effects of going to a therapist?

    I don’t know I’m just trying to analyse/understand…

  • Reply
    Titaxy
    February 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Agree. There’s one friend of mine to whom I’ve been recommending seeing a therapist, but for some reason, every other alternative looks good to that person than to seek help. And I don’t understand why. Going to therapy would mean opening up to a third person and discussing personal issues with someone you don’t even know…and apparently, that is a no no. Oh well, I can only keep pushing the person and hope that one day the mind changes.

  • Reply
    Celestialrays
    February 3, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I agree PB. But I do think that the mentality of people is changing, slowly but surely 🙂

  • Reply
    Magali
    February 3, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    I agree that it probably is a very brave and admirable thing to do. And I’s probably have to add that here, if you seek therapy people won’t think you’re weak they’ll just think you’re mad! It’s crazy how backward some people are.

  • Reply
    Symphonic1discord
    February 3, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    I couldnt agree with you more especially about it being such a courageous act!

  • Reply
    Neha
    February 3, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Hi there! bloghopped here from Richa’s blog 😀
    Therapy is like getting medicines for the mind. And I dont see whats wrong with that! It is the social conditioning that makes us think that doing a xyz thing will ‘make’ us ‘look’ strong. All that needs to be done is stop worrying about whether others think you are strong or not, but to actually strengthen yourself (even if that means crying your heart out… the most common sign of “supposed” weakness).

  • Reply
    Abha Midha
    February 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I agree wid u that admitting you have a problem is the first stage. Realizing that you need help is the second one. One need not go to a prof person always. a good and sincere friendwho knows you in and out can be of a big help too. After all that is what friends are for.

  • Reply
    Rinth
    February 5, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    I agree 100 %! Also I think it’s easier opening up to strangers… ’cause they won’t judge you…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    February 6, 2011 at 8:05 am

    It’s really something I find hard to understand…how mental health is still such a stigma and not just in countries like India. It’s true we have a lot more services here in Aus, but people still have a stigma attached to it. And here I think it’s more about being weak…although there are others who think they are ‘crazy’ to have to seek therapy…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    February 6, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Exactly! It’s an analogy I use often with people who are a bit ambivalent…people are eager to look after their physical health and do what it takes…why not the same approach to mental health which is just as important??

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    February 6, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Thanks Swar…I do too! They are definitely brave when they come to seek help…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    February 6, 2011 at 8:30 am

    I guess there are downsides if people see a therapist who is crap…kinda the same as seeing a doctor who is not good. But that’s the only way it could be harmful to see a therapist. In other ways, there’s no ‘bad’ effects…some people worry that they will bring up all these emotions and events they have forgotten for a while but in reality, it’s these events that are probably the underlying reasons they are depressed or anxious or angry…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    February 6, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Try giving them the analogy of taking medication for any physical health problem…or using crutches if your leg is broken…seeing a therapist is similar for their mental health well being. Unfortunately though, in some cultures, including the Indian culture, talking about your problems to a third person as you said, is a no-no. Unfortunately all you can do then is to continue to persuade them to see the benefits of therapy and not be bound by culture…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    February 6, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Oh definitely it is changing…and that’s a great thing. It would be even better if more and more people saw that… =)

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    February 6, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I guess that’s a bit I forgot…there is the stigma still about being ‘mental’ or ‘crazy’…however, I still think a lot of it has to do with weakness too…especially in countries like Aus where the craziness stigma is a little less than in countries like India…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    February 6, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Welcome to this space SymphonicDiscord! And thanks for the comment… hope to see you around more…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    February 6, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Welcome to this space Neha! You are so right when you say therapy is like medicines for the mind. That’s the perfect analogy! The whole misconception about weakness is definitely related to socialisation and worry about what people will think…
    Do keep visiting…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    February 6, 2011 at 8:50 am

    True…I agree that there are friends…but would you really want to take responsibility for someone who may be suicidal? That’s not the role of a friend…and not a burden they need to have to bear should someone commit suicide…on the other hand, there are professionals who know what to do and how to assess for the same. But yes, in other cases for sure…it makes sense to admit that they have a problem and talking to a friend could be helpful too…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    February 6, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Welcome to this space Rinth! I’m with you on it being easier to open up to strangers…a few times when I saw a counsellor when I was younger, I found it so much easier to talk to them without worrying what a friend would think about it etc…

  • Reply
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