Everyone’s heard about the prevalence of depression in countries around the world. While some will joke that depression only hits the millionaires, it’s observable in everyone regardless of culture, race, or socioeconomic status. Contrary to what all of the Hollywood movies depict, it is never an easy race. I get very angry at those who throw around mental illnesses in the air without knowing the gravity of the term itself. Feeling depressed is such a deep emotion that sometimes, one is not even aware of it until it’s become too deep. Feeling “bipolar” is not fun. I have a relative who suffers from such, and she has been dealing with it for years while raising two children (and she’s very good at it!)
Truth be told, I’ve only been in therapy for four months and I still suffer from relapses. In spite of everyone’s reassurances that my physical, mental and emotional capabilities are not being judged… It still remains. So let’s get three misconceptions about psychotherapy real clear here.
- Psychiatric Medicines
Just because someone is undergoing psychotherapy, it does not automatically mean that they are prescribed medication. During my first few weeks with my therapist (who was not a psychiatrist, by the way), she went strongly against medication until she saw that my symptoms were dangerous to the point that I had to be accompanied by a member of the family. I would like to add that antidepressants aren’t the only thing here. There’s antipsychotic drugs for those with severe hallucinations and delusions. In addition, I was given anti-convulsive medication for treatment of my impulses towards non-suicidal self injury.
2. Length of Time
In modern psychotherapy, it is highly recommended that brief therapy be administered to clients for economical and efficient handling of symptoms. However, one cannot guarantee the absence of relapsing back into what we have always been used to, most especially if it goes back to childhood, or even adolescence. In my current position as part-time psychologist in an NGO company, even we are given suggestions to compress the time we give to our children in therapies to a shorter time because they have other things to do (e.g school, tutoring, hobbies, etc).
Speaking from personal experience, I believe that I’m the kind of person who needs a long time before coming to terms with the demons in my past, which is too much to count and too much to manage. It’s always going to be a never-ending battle, because stress does not end in a certain period of time. It’s only going to get harder, and therapy helps us heal so we may learn to weather through the storms as we grow older. So while some would get better in a few weeks or so… there are always going to be some who will need more time to accept themselves and become stronger.
3. Therapy is all about positive things
Contrary to this, therapy will make you face your worse fears. Trust me on this: Whether you decide on group therapy, psychoanalysis, CBT, REBT, or any other method, you will be forced to confront your fears. The key to a successful therapy is only when one has learned to face the demons they find in themselves.
Let’s admit it, it all takes us a while to accept the demons in us.
But while some complain that they should have gone to therapy for this and that but they didn’t, do remember that we are all different people. Therefore, we have different mechanisms. Some need a friend. Some can manage on their own. Some just need a trip. Some need a professional. But people who go to therapy also have the same goal that you do: to be able to get through life.