If you’ve never seen a psychologist, the thought of visiting one, or even just thinking about it, can feel daunting and like a huge step.
You may just be nervous about the unknown, or find the concept of having a deep conversation with someone you don’t know unsettling.
Either-way, if you’re hesitant and are finding excuses for not wanting to see a psychologist, we thought we’d debunk some age-old myths.
You might think you’ll be labelled if you seek the help of a psychologist, or that you’ll spend the session talking about your childhood.
It’s understandable that misinformation like this can put you off, but it’s important not to let it stop you from looking after your mental health.
At Access Psych, we want to make mental health as accessible and as accepted as going to the gym. That’s why today we’ll be focusing on busting some common psychology myths!
9 common psychology myths, busted
1) Speaking about your emotions and problems will make them worse
Some people think that highlighting your problems and emotions heightens them, making you feel worse.
In fact, talking about your problems can actually work to decrease the intensity of them, according to one study.
Speaking with a psychologist about things like anxiety, depression and stress can help you work through any confusion, consider solutions and take a new perspective.
2) Psychologists are immune to mental health issues and concerns
It takes years for psychologists to become qualified but, even then, they’re not immune to mental health struggles.
Having a specialist knowledge of mental health conditions and evidence-based strategies to deal with them doesn’t protect psychologists from natural feelings.
In fact, the demand for psychology services in light of the COVID-19 pandemic has left many psychologists burnt out and dealing with their own mental health concerns.
3) You should click with your psychologist straight away
Seeing a psychologist is a personal experience, so it’s vital you find one who’s right for you.
Unfortunately, you won’t always click with your psychologist, just like you don’t click with everyone you meet.
As much as this can be frustrating, don’t give up. It’s important that you’re comfortable with your psychologist, so the wait to find the right one is worth it.
At Access Psych, we have an extensive team of AHRPA Registered and Provisionally Registered Psychologists who understand the importance of trust and comfort.
Our psychologists put your mental health first, which is why they won’t be offended if you think you’re better suited to a colleague.
4) Psychologists are very serious people
There’s an old myth that psychologists are serious people that resemble Nurse Ratchet in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Thankfully, that’s rarely the case. At Access Psych, our psychologists are genuine, attentive professionals who listen to what you have to say.
Treating you with compassion, they’ll always give you honest, straightforward advice and the tools you need to build your confidence in tackling your issues and concerns.
5) Only “crazy people” see psychologists
One of the classic psychology myths – and a false one at that – is that psychologists only treat “crazy” people.
Psychologists do care for people with severe mental health conditions, but that’s not the only people they work with.
You might choose to see a psychologist for a variety of reasons, often at different times in your life, not just if you’re suffering from a mental health condition.
Common reasons for seeking the help of a psychologist include:
- Adjusting to major life changes
- Behavioural problems, poor concentration or hyperactivity
- Communication skills
- Conflict resolution
- Depression or low mood
- Improving relationships
- Insomnia or sleeping problems
- Learning difficulties and educational assessments
- Obsessional thinking or behaviours
- Problems related to alcohol use, drug use, gambling or other addictive behaviours
- Processing anger
- Stress management
- Working on self-esteem, body image or eating
6) Psychology is all about talking about feelings
Discussing your feelings, thoughts and past life events is a part of most therapy sessions, but it’s not the only part.
Your psychologist will also discuss treatment models and other solutions that will help you overcome your issues and concerns.
At Access Psych, our team of psychologists have a thorough understanding of complex mental health issues and the right therapeutic approaches to suit individual needs.
That’s why we are able to identify the best treatment for you, such as psychoeducation, goal setting and problem solving (to name a few).
7) Children are too young to benefit from seeing a psychologist
It’s not only adults who can benefit from seeing a psychologist – children can as well.
If you find your child struggling to manage their emotions, make new friends or learn new skills, you might want to consult a psychologist.
By taking action early, you can help prevent their symptoms developing into something more severe or persisting longer than they need to.
At Access Psych, we can support children over the age of 12 years old – and their families – who may be experiencing emotional difficulties, behavioural challenges, social difficulties, trauma-related issues and more.
8) Psychology is all about your childhood and what’s happened in your past
To get an accurate picture of whatever you’re experiencing, it’s only natural that your psychologist might ask you some questions about your past.
This can help them understand the bigger picture and work out how childhood (and all of life) patterns that could be affecting you.
The amount of time you spend discussing your past will depend on how much it plays a role in the issues and concerns you’re experiencing in the present.
It’s important to note that your psychologist will also talk just as much about the present, and how you can set realistic goals to help you manage your mental health in future.
9) You have to lie down on a dusty, old couch
This is one of the classic psychology myths that Hollywood and the media have helped perpetuate, but the reality is very different – at least today.
The act of lying on a couch during a therapy session goes back to Sigmund Freud, who thought his patients would talk more openly and honestly if they were lying down and relaxed.
He also thought the patient would speak more freely if the analyst was propped up behind the patient and out of sight.
So yes, some therapists have a couch in their office, but don’t worry, you have the choice.
Don’t forget that we’re well into the 21st Century so there’s a thing called the Internet and a service we call Telehealth. That means you can access a psychologist from anywhere in Australia. You don’t have to wait for a clinic appointment to get the mental health support you need, when you need it.
Now that these psychology myths have been put to bed, what next?
Hopefully this has shed some light on some common myths and made you feel confident enough to seek the help of a mental health professional.
If you feel ready to seek the help of a psychologist, take a look at our team of registered and provisional psychologists near you.
Alternatively, if you have any questions about Access Psych and what else we can do for you, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.
The information provided in this Blog is general in nature and is intended to be used for information purposes only. While we have tried to ensure the accuracy of the information published, no guarantee can be given that the information is free from error or omission or that it is accurate, current or complete. The information published is not, and should not be relied on as, health or treatment advice. The diagnosis and treatment of any mental illness requires the attention of a physician or other properly qualified mental health professional. If you are seeking diagnosis or treatment of any other mental illness, you should consult a physician or mental health professional. You should not delay in seeking, or disregard, professional health advice because of something you have read in the Blog.