5 Common Myths About Psychotherapy

People who have never seen a therapist before—or have had a bad experience in the past—may have some misconceptions about psychotherapy. Some of this is perpetuated through pop culture. And like any profession, there is a range of styles and degrees of competency. Some common myths are:


1.  People become therapists because they’re trying to work out their own “issues” (aka, Therapists are “crazy”).

Therapists are as human as the next person, and in many cases, they are individuals who have had to overcome difficult situations in their lives that inspired them to study to help others in their same condition. It’s true that some therapists have problems; however, licensing requirements and state ethics boards work very hard to ensure that licensed professionals are competent and mentally fit to work with others.


2.  Therapy is too expensive and takes forever.

Several decades ago, when a lot of therapists did Freudian psychoanalysis, it was common to see a therapist three or four times a week for several years. However, very few therapists follow that model today. Cognitive behavioral therapists, such as those at Portland Psychotherapy, are particularly dedicated to using treatments that are focused and effective. Many people find 10-20 sessions sufficient, even for problems they have struggled with for years. For others, it may take longer, but within 5-10 sessions you should have a sense for whether a therapist is the right fit for you. Change doesn’t have to take years.


3.  Therapists are full of psychobabble.

Any profession has its technical terms, and psychology is no exception. Moreover, the line between pop psychology and science-based psychotherapy can get blurred at times. That said, good therapists try to speak in plain language are always willing to explain any terms that are confusing to you.


4.  Therapy turns you into someone else.

At Portland Psychotherapy, we focus on helping you live the life you want to live—not on turning you into someone new. Good therapists help people be the people they want to be—not who the therapists thinks they should be.


5.  All therapists want to do is talk about your childhood.

Again, this is a exaggerated notion based on Freudian psychoanalysis. At Portland Psychotherapy, we focus on helping you with problems you are having today. While sometimes it can be useful to talk about your childhood, that depends on the aims and goals of the client.



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