If you battle depression, then you may have considered getting help from a counselor off and on, but ultimately you haven't gone. This is very common, because when depressed, it can be difficult to get through the day, let alone decide on a counselor you think is right for you and make that first phone call to set up an appointment. You may also have misconceptions about what will go on during counseling, because real-life counseling can be very different from what you see on television shows. If any of these three myths are keeping you from finally making that important phone call, then learn the truth, so you can finally overcome the depression getting in the way of the happy life you know you deserve.
1. All Psychotherapy Involves Talking About the Past
If you had a traumatic childhood or suffered through other tough situations in your life, then you may think your counselor will force you to talk about these events, even if you don't want to. Counseling sessions featured on television shows often depict characters talking about these situations with their therapists simply because it makes good television. Can you choose to discuss past life events that may have caused or worsened your depression with your counselor? Yes. However, there are many forms of counseling that focus on the present and not the past that you may not want to rehash.
What you often see featured on television is a branch of psychology called psychoanalysis. During this type of counseling, your entire life from birth to the present is typically brought up and discussed, including past traumas. It can be very effective, but as the patient, you can choose other forms of counseling that focus on the present and what you can do now to improve your state of mind.
Types of depression counseling that focus on the here-and-now include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. During this type of counseling, your doctor will help you locate thought patterns and behaviors that are keeping you depressed and help you change them. For example, you may have gotten into the habit of "brooding," which is a habit where you continually think about something negative that has happened in your life long after it occurred. Your therapist will help you learn to prevent brooding and replace it with more positive thoughts and actions.
- Interpersonal therapy. If you know or suspect that your depression stems from an inability to make good friends and/or get along well with family, then interpersonal therapy can help you overcome these difficulties. Close bonds with other people and a relatively active social network (and not just online interactions) are important for mental health.
Do neither of these sound right for you? There are over 400 types of therapy, and the right counselor can help you find what will work best for you.
2. Your Counselor Will Argue With You
Another myth about counseling that often stems from television portrayals is that counselors argue with clients who don't follow their instructions or yell at them if they report they did something the counselor didn't approve of. This is just another way television shows strive to keep every scene filled with drama, and audiences love watching arguments.
The truth is that no counselor will yell at you or argue with you, especially knowing that you are already depressed. Imagine if a real-life counselor argued and yelled at their patients ... do you think people would ever go back to them when they can just go to another one who can treat them politely?
Most counselors try their best to stay neutral and keep a polite doctor-patient rapport with their clients.
3, A Psychologist Will Force You To Do Things You Don't Want To Do
If you have heard of therapeutic techniques that sound scary to you, like desensitization, which would be a possible treatment if you have co-occurring depression and anxiety, then you may worry that your therapist will try to coerce you into trying it, even if you don't want to. Sure, your counselor will mention treatments that they believe will be helpful to you, but in the end, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do.
Will they maybe bring it up again at a later time to see if you changed your mind about it? Possibly. But like already mentioned, they will not argue with you if your answer is "no" and will respect your decision. The same goes for a topic you don't want to discuss. Your counselor may ask a question you are uncomfortable with, but you can simply tell them that you would not like to discuss it, and the two of you can then move onto a new topic.
Depression counseling can help you get your good state of mind and your life back. If you are hesitant to make that phone call to get the help you need due to these three myths, then forget about them and get that help you need. For more information, contact a clinic specializing in depression counseling, such as The Genen Group.