“Yes, we have clients coming over to seek therapy services every single day.”
“Wow, I didn’t know so many people have “mental issues” nowadays .”
Last weekend, I was having a conversation with a group of friends. They asked about things related to psychological services knowing that I am currently undergoing an internship at MY Psychology center. Out of their curiosity, they asked about the basic what, why, how, the process and so on. Then, one of my friends asked: “What is the average number of clients coming over to the centre each day and are there a lot of them?”. And I said: “Yes, we have clients coming over to seek therapy services every single day.”. He replied with a shocked face: “Wow, I didn’t know so many people have “mental issues” nowadays .” At that point of time, I was downhearted for a moment.
Apparently, there are still lots of misconceptions and assumptions about going to see a therapist. Many of us thought that psychotherapy is for those who are “psycho” or have a mental disorder. I was not surprised by people having this thought. Because I used to have these thoughts as well when I was younger before having the exposure towards the true knowledge of psychology and mental health.
The only knowledge I have back then was through movies and drama. Those extreme cases that were featured by the social media about people going for a therapy session were mainly “psycho” or crazy. This creates a framework in the audience’s mind that only “abnormal” people go to see therapists. And usually we named the place as “tanjung rambutan”.
Going to see a therapist is like going to see a doctor. There’s no stigma on people seeking doctors to treat our body but why there’s stigma towards people seeking therapists to talk about mental health? Isn’t mental health as important as physical health?
But sadly, the majority of people look at it as a weakness and shame when someone seeks for mental professional help. And this has always led to the reason why people don’t seek help in the first place to prevent social judgement.
Many of the time, people seek therapists not because they are having major mental illnesses such as Major depressive disorder, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Bipolar disorder and so on. But most of the time, they just want somebody to listen to and view the issues from different angles and perspectives. Therapy services are able to help with a range of problems and issues including relationships, burnout, stress or even help you to achieve life goals and skills.
People attend psychotherapy for all sorts of reasons, not only when you are broken or diagnosed with serious mental illness. Instead of stigmatizing people for going to see a therapist, we should all the more encourage our family and friends to look for therapy occasionally. Because it is a healthy attitude towards your healthy mental state lifestyle.
Personally, I have had the privilege to go for a therapy session. At first, people might say to me: “Do you have a problem? Why do you seek psychotherapy?”. It made me also question myself and wondered if I really need to have a problem only to see a therapist? But, I chose to still give it a try.
Well, to my surprise, I greatly benefited from the psychotherapy session. And the clinical psychologist told me that it is a good sign that you are coming for a therapy session, even if you do not have a problem but have areas that you want to work on to make improvements and live a better life. It can simply be self-improvement.
Changing how we view therapy: Therapy is more than a treatment. It is a lifestyle choice, a tool for people to explore themselves, understand emotions, feelings, changes, relationships and more. As well as practicing self-awareness and coping skills to handle our life events and live a wonderful and authentic life.
Yes, we can’t deny the fact that there’s a stigma on the word “therapy”. But, we have the power to change society’s view on the word “therapy” by educating and bringing awareness to the people around us. We all play a part in bringing awareness on the importance of mental health and encourage others and even ourselves to seek professional help if necessary.
“Psychotherapy is a private, confidential conversation that has nothing to do with illness and medicine”
Thank you for reading this article.
I’m Yee Von, MY Psychology’s intern,
With you, MY Psychology.