1. Stigma. Despite the relative popularity of the Self Help and Wellness paradigms in our culture, the idea of needing help to maintain or restore mental/emotional wellness still has a stigma attached to it, a remnant of the cultural discourse of “Mental Illness”. We value mental health, but devalue those for whom it doesn’t come easily.
2. Perceived Authority. Therapy, by and large ends up being a collaborative, warm process. For many who have not experienced it, the expectation is shrouded in the image of the cold, detached Freudian psychoanalyst taking copious notes but not really relating. There is an assumption that we professionals somehow know the client’s lived experience better than the client and will be all too willing to judge it on that basis.
3. Fear of Change. Simply put, we tend to become comfortable in our established “systems”. That is, we get used to the way things are done even if things are done badly. It’s often easier to stay in our habits, our compulsions, our addictions, our maladaptive relationships than to beat a new path. “What if I change but nobody changes with me?” It’s a valid concern.
So I now put it to my readers. Have you ever struggled with any of these issues? Have you shied away from a potential growth experience? I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences here. Don’t be afraid.