The Therapy Stigma: Is Getting Help a Bad Thing?

Many+therapists+meet+with+clients+over+video-chat+instead+of+in+person.+There+are+many+different+websites+where+people+can+sign+up+and+have+the+opportunity+to+meet+with+a+professional+without+going+to+an+office.+

Jaimee Smith

Many therapists meet with clients over video-chat instead of in person. There are many different websites where people can sign up and have the opportunity to meet with a professional without going to an office.

What do you do when you find yourself in the middle of a crisis? During a difficult time, some people find themselves leaning on their peers while others rely on their mental strength to carry the burden. Still others may find themselves reaching out to professionals.

The concept of mental health is a controversial topic that people have different opinions on. Over the past year, the idea that getting help is okay has been spread throughout the media. TWLOHA, a campaign all about spreading positivity, has an instagram account and a website where they post positive reminders, blogs, and merchandise that revolves around self-love. People around the word share their story on TWLOHA’s website. These stories consist of experiences with therapy, addiction, self-harm, and more. 

“[Therapy] allows people to connect with another real person that knows what they are going through and can help them get through their problems, no matter how they serve, in a way that works for them,” said sophomore Lauren Hattan. 

The idea of therapy is to help people through whatever life throws at them, and not to make the person feel bad about themselves or feel as if they’re crazy for seeking help from a professional. But sometimes, the good intentions of a counselor are no match for the stigma that society puts on people who go to therapy. One common stigma is the idea that people who go to therapy can’t let go of the past and that’s why they’re seeing someone. Mandy Beth Rubin, a mental health counselor, explains in her article how the stigma around therapy stems from the misconceptions people have of disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. 

“Those who don’t think they need [therapy] think that those who do have mental illnesses and problems. The reality is that they just need a person they can go to that they can trust,” said junior Savannah Garrison. 

People don’t have to have a mental illness or be in a “bad place” to attend therapy sessions. Some people simply want to keep bettering themselves and feel that a professional is best suited to help them achieve this goal. Maybe they are struggling with their love life or handling the stress from their full-time job. There are more than just a handful of reasons. 

Stigma and discrimination can drive a person into a deeper hole and can delay their recovery. It can trap them inside a bubble of self-doubt and anxiety, even if there wasn’t one to start.

“I think people are scared to ask for help because they see it as ‘losing’ or they feel that it’s a sign of weakness. It certainly isn’t by any means, but it goes with that stigma around therapy,” said Hattan. 

The truth of the matter is, therapy is not a bad thing. It’s a way people get help, and as a society, we should want to see our peers and fellow humans grow. Therapists help people overcome painful experiences, define goals, develop coping mechanisms, and much more. Even if someone does go to therapy because of mental illness, it does not mean they are crazy, nor are they weak. Reaching out to someone does not mean they are losing their battle; it means they are trying to win it.