I sometimes hear people say, “I don’t believe in counseling.” I can’t completely understand this statement.
Essentially, counseling consists of talking about problems and finding a better way to work through them. What is there to “not believe in?” The person does not believe in talking? Or suggestions or changing ways of thinking and behaving? If a person says they do not believe in medications, I can somewhat understand that.
Another criticism I hear is that a therapist is a “hired friend.” I must disagree with this one. Friends go to lunch, do a variety of activities together, and usually talk about things other than problems and feelings. A therapist usually does one 45 minute appointment per week and focuses only on the client by listening and helping the client find ways to get through the problem by using various theories, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Solution Focused Therapy, Sex Therapy, and a variety of other techniques. When was the last time a friend did that? Would that be a very good friend? Not to mention…I charge each time a client comes to see me!
Clients often tell me they are quite frustrated because they tell their friend about their problem and their friend quits listening and then talks about themselves. Therapy is designed to avoid this problem by letting the client talk about their concerns.
If we really look at the root of the statement “I don’t believe in therapy,” the person is most likely saying that they do not want to face his/her problem. Facing problems are difficult, especially when you come to a stranger’s office to do so. People often lead a life of suppressing the problem by avoiding talking about it, covering it with food, alcohol, sex addiction, or another maladaptive behavior and/or chemical.
If you find yourself saying “I don’t believe in therapy,” challenge yourself to find the root of your statement.