Here are some common mindsets that might be holding you back:
I must be sick, diseased, broken or just plain crazy if I need therapy
All sorts of people come to therapy with all sorts of problems. Many also come, not because they feel there is something wrong, but because they want to get to know themselves better, to ponder the meaning of life or to unleash their creative and authentic selves. As a society, we need to change the way we think and talk about therapy. Ultimately, therapy is a creative process whereby you will learn how to build a healthy relationship with self and others.
Why should I be the one to do all the work once again?
How are you neglecting, re-wounding or punishing yourself by staying stuck in anger or pain? Investing in therapy and taking responsibility for where you are in the present moment does not let whoever hurt or abused you off the hook; it lets you off the hook. Therapy can help you to move forward with your life regardless of your history.
I have tried therapy before and it didn’t work
Perhaps try again with a different therapist and / or a different style of therapy. When I choose a therapist, I always go with my gut – never by location, cost or whether a rebate is available. Good therapy is worth its weight in gold and many people travel to the other side of town for the right therapist. It is perfectly acceptable to interview a few therapists before making a decision. Also, therapy takes a commitment in relation to time, money and relationship with self – so the timing needs to be right! If you are unhappy at any stage with your therapist, it is worth sharing your feelings so that you and the therapist can work through it together.
What’s the point? I am beyond help
Somewhere you have learnt that you are not worth it.
When we are struggling with toxic shame, low self-worth and a sense of feeling flawed at the core, it is difficult to see that we are indeed worth investing in ourselves. It’s important that we don’t believe everything we think! It could be one of our subpersonalities such as the ‘inner critic’ or the ‘internal saboteur’.
You are worth it and the point is you. Therapy can help you to realise this.
Therapy takes too long
Clients report feeling better at the end of the first session, are making healthy lifestyle changes after just a few sessions and many see a significant difference in their lives within three to six months. Yes…it is rare that long-term healing occurs within the limited number of sessions provided by Medicare. Yes, therapy does take time, money and commitment. But…what is the alternative?
Try reflecting on these important questions:
- How long have you been suffering?
- How is the way that you are currently dealing with your suffering working for you?
- If things stay as they are, how will you feel this time next year?
- How would you like your life to be by this time next year?
It is tempting to go for a quick fix solution. There isn’t one. How long you will be in therapy is ultimately up to you but healing takes time. Allow yourself the time to heal – you’re worth it!
Therapists charge too much
Psychotherapists and counsellors with rigorous training are highly skilled professionals. They often train longer than lawyers, doctors and dentists. To maintain a high level of psychological safety for their clients, psychotherapists often invest in their own weekly psychotherapy as well as a period of group therapy. They are required to participate in at least 20 hours of continued professional development a year as well as monthly clinical supervision. Therapists also pay for association registration, insurance, room overheads, marketing and website development. Rarely do therapists overcharge for their time and in fact, they are one of the only professions to offer a sliding fee scale!
I can’t afford therapy because I can’t get the Medicare rebate with my counsellor or psychotherapist of choice
The Medicare rebate is currently at around $85 in Australia. The fee for Medicare providers is around $150-$200; therefore the out of pocket cost is anywhere between $65- $115. The average counselling / psychotherapy fee with a non-Medicare provider is between $75-$130 so it works out much of a muchness. One problem with relying on a Medicare rebate is that the limited number of sessions provided are rarely enough and this can result in revolving door syndrome or therapist hopping. See Why pay out of pocket? for more reasons why paying privately is conducive to your emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.
I can’t afford therapy
Many of us spend hundreds of dollars each week trying to boost our esteem, pleasure seeking, wasting money, being overly restrictive with money to save for the future and by soothing our unbearable feelings, dependencies and addictions. But at what cost?
How much money ($AU) are you wasting that you could be investing in your well-being?
- Taking a gram of coke = approx. $300.
- Drinking a bottle of bubbly/wine a night = approx. $70 a week.
- Smoking a packet of ciggies a day = $105 a week.
- Gambling on the pokies = $$$.
- A night of binge drinking $100-$300.
- Bingeing on food and overeating at meals = $$$.
- Buying takeaways = approx. $140 a week.
- Joining diet clubs over and over again and purchasing their weekly menu = $120-$150 a week.
- A gym membership that is excessively used or never used = $30 a week.
- A shopping spree = $$$ on new clothes, often left unworn.
- Working excessive hours, in a job you hate, neglecting the family to earn more $$$ that you then spend trying to make your family happy.
- Buying stuff, stuff and more stuff for the kids thinking it will make them happy or because you feel guilty.
- $$$ on anti-ageing, make-up or plastic surgery because you are not happy with your appearance.
- $$$ on medication because you are sick all the time.
- Expensive holidays – only to spend the whole holiday sick because you are so run down.
- Expensive health retreats that you are not able to integrate and follow through with on your return.
Are any of the above costing your emotional, psychological and spiritual health and wellbeing?
I really can’t afford therapy
Unfortunately, many counselling and psychotherapy services are currently not provided for, as they should be, by government mental health plans.
There are some other options available:
- Ask your therapist of choice if they have a sliding fee scale
- Ask work if they have an Employee Assistance Program
- Ring around counselling and psychotherapy training organisations for reduced fee or free therapy. Choose a training organisation where their students must participate in a significant amount of their own therapy.
- There are numerous help lines that offer free telephone counselling for crises e.g. Rape Crisis, Lifeline and Financial counselling
- Join group therapy – approximately $50-$100 a group
- Join a self-help group – many organisations such as eating disorder foundations run groups at little or no cost.
- Join a 12 step program – there are groups for gambling, sex addiction, narcotics, alcohol, children of alcoholics, overeating and co-dependency. Often this requires a minimal donation to go towards tea and coffee.
- Join a self-development workshop through a local community college – they cover everything from building self-esteem, how to manage money to creating emotional intelligence
- Build self-worth through self-help. Borrow or buy self-help books, watch some TED talks/YouTube clips or listen to podcasts – there are 1000s available free of charge.
- Boost your well-being by taking care of diet and exercise regularly to boost the ‘feel good’ hormones in the brain.
- Ask for a raise, work towards a promotion at work or upgrade to a job that mirrors and affirms your worth.
The cost of ignoring the call of the Self
The Self calls us towards our innate wholeness in mysterious ways; symptoms, health breakdowns, life-crises or perhaps through a peak spiritual awakening. The more we ignore the call, the louder the knocking becomes. It pays to invest in our emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being before crisis comes a knocking!
I am a therapist – how can I pay it forward and invest in my community?
In line with National Psychotherapy Day, here are a few ways you can pay it forward:
- Offer a couple of sessions a week at sliding scale for those experiencing genuine financial difficulty. This can be done as a percentage of the client’s wage or at a standard low-cost fee.
- Give a free talk to your community about emotional health and well-being or a topic that speaks to your area e.g. Coping with depression in the outback.
- Volunteer one counselling session a week, or a block of sessions to your local community centre or to a local NGO.
- Join the NPD facebook page – there are loads of suggestions on how to give back to your community.
This blog is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.