In a recent local mental health survey conducted in 2022, alarming results revealed that 2 out of 5 individuals struggle with their mental health. The statistics are even more concerning for young people, where the number increases to 1 out of every 2 individuals. However, as mental health awareness grows within our culture, it is crucial to recognize the importance of seeking help and support when faced with mental health challenges. In this article, we aim to debunk common myths and misconceptions surrounding therapy and counselling, shedding light on the benefits and addressing the cultural and psychological barriers that often go unspoken.
Myth #1: Therapy is only for serious mental and emotional health problems
Contrary to popular belief, therapy is not solely reserved for individuals with diagnosed mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or addiction. The goal of therapy extends beyond mere intervention; it aims to support individuals in growing towards a state of psychological well-being. This includes experiencing a sense of enjoyment and pleasure (hedonic), finding meaning and fulfilment (eudaimonic), and developing healthy coping mechanisms and resilience. Through therapy, you can:
- Gain deeper self-awareness
- Enhance your self-esteem
- Learn healthy coping strategies to manage stress and challenges
- Strengthen your communication skills
- Improve your interpersonal relationships
Myth #2: People will judge me for seeing a therapist
It is natural to worry about the judgement of others when seeking help, but it’s important to remember that your mental health should take precedence over societal opinions. Our culture often emphasises individualistic coping mechanisms, promoting the idea that we should handle everything on our own. However, seeking therapy is not a sign of weakness; it is a courageous step towards self-improvement. It is important to surround yourself with supportive individuals who understand and encourage your decision to prioritise your mental well-being. Remember, sharing that you’re seeing a therapist is entirely up to you, and if someone reacts negatively, it reflects their perspective, not your worth.
Myth #3: Therapy is a long and expensive process to express my thoughts and feelings
Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” emphasising the importance of proactive measures. Therapy aims to support individuals in overcoming challenges before they escalate. Unlike other wellness solutions or pharmaceutical treatments, therapy is not defined by a set number of sessions. The duration of therapy depends on various factors, such as your goals, needs, and underlying conditions. While therapy services may seem costly for a conversation, it is important to understand that therapists are trained in evidence-based practices to facilitate positive change. Therapists provide unbiased perspectives and validate your concerns, helping you identify and break unhelpful patterns. Family and friends play a vital role as sources of support, but therapists offer a unique and focused approach to your well-being.
Debunking these myths and misconceptions surrounding therapy and counselling is crucial to fostering a culture of mental wellness. It is essential to understand that therapy is not solely for individuals with diagnosed mental health conditions. Seeking therapy is a personal decision that can empower you to grow towards a state of psychological well-being, improve your relationships, and enhance your overall quality of life. Remember, prioritising your mental health is not a sign of weakness but a testament to your strength and commitment to self-care.
The Straits Times. (2022, April 30). Survey finds 2 in 5 Singaporeans have mental health struggles; new initiative launched to drive action. Retrieved from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/survey-finds-2-in-5-sporeans-have-mental-health-struggles-new-initiative-launched-to-drive-action
The Straits Times. (2022, December 1). More Singaporeans willing to seek help from mental health professionals after pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/more-singaporeans-willing-to-seek-help-from-mental-health-professionals-after-pandemic
Tang, Y. Y., Tang, R., & Gross, J. J. (2019). Promoting psychological well-being through an evidence-based mindfulness training program. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 13, 23