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Busting Myths regarding seeking Mental health help from a therapist

Quoted in Midday on 15th June, 2021

MYTH - A therapist will tell you what to do

“You will not receive direct answers or guidance about what to do with your life. That is not the role of the therapist. What your therapist will help you with, however, is to become more capable of making your own decisions,” explains Dr Nahid Dave, a psychiatrist at Thought Matters. She adds that therapy is not about convincing or persuading someone to do something, which is often an expectation expressed by clients’ partners or parents. “Therapists are not mind readers or messengers. It is a two-way process that will require willing and active participation and groundwork from the client as well,” she adds.

MYTH- You must research online

Many clients will seek answers for their problems online and then come to the session with a ready diagnosis. Through the session, they want to seek validation for their assumptions, says Dr Dave. “Remember the diagnosis often shifts as people change and evolve. The label is very fluid, and has no real bearing,” she adds. Instead, she recommends taking some time to make a list of every traumatic or difficult situation that has had a negative impact on your mental health. This will enable you to present a succinct summary during your first consultation instead of wasting time on unnecessary details. If a particular incident warrants further investigation, it can be explored during successive sessions with the therapist.

MYTH - Your therapist will always be available to you

One of the most common challenges that therapists face is of establishing boundaries, says Dr Dave. “Clients often expect the therapist to be available on call whenever they face a crisis. Being constantly available isn’t just impractical but can also be detrimental as it enables dependency,” she says. It is therefore important to understand the difference between therapy and an SOS helpline.

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