5 Myths about Therapists

What are your thoughts when you hear the word 'therapist'? What are some images that come to mind? Some people might imagine a therapist writing notes in a therapy office, and the client is laying down on the couch. Then the therapist says, "how do you feel about that?". 

People also have feelings associated with the word 'therapist'. Some people have positive feelings towards therapists, while others have strong a negative response towards them. Those feelings are likely rooted in past experiences with  bad therapists. 

Some people have negative emotions towards therapists, and yet they have never met a therapists! There are so many misconceptions and myths about therapy and therapists. Unfortunately, some clients had a bad experience with a therapist. Yes, there is such a thing as a bad therapist (I wish all therapists were great at their job). But my hope is that I can help de-stigmatize some of the general beliefs about therapists. There are awesome therapists out there! And I want to help you be encouraged to find them!

Here are 5 myths that people have about therapists:  

  • Myth #1: Therapists are mind readers
    • Closer to the truth: Therapists are empathetic and insightful.
    • Therapists cannot read minds: and if they claim to, run! Therapists work with clients to help them with their problems. A great way that therapists help clients is to show the client that they are listening. The therapists also shows empathy and tries to imagine what it would be like to go through the experiences the client went through. After listening to their story, the therapist helps the client analyze and reflect on their life. Therapists are trained to help clients make realizations about their own life. Therapists are not mind readers and do not diagnose every person they come into contact with, yet therapists are insightful and are able to likely see things that the client may not. 
  • Myth #2: Therapists have it "all together"
    • Closer to the truth: Therapists have flaws and make mistakes, but there are actively working on themselves.
    • Therapists are human. Therapists do not claim to be perfect or have it "all together". In fact, some therapist also have mental disorders. Some therapists were inspired to work in the field because of their own personal journey with their mental health disorder. Therapists will also make mistakes in therapy once in a while. But something that sets therapists apart is that they are (or at least should be) actively working on bettering themselves.
  • Myth #3: Therapists judge their clients.
    • Closer to the truth: Therapists accept their clients. 
    • Therapists listen to their clients and try to help the client make connections to past experiences. The client may share very personal information- they even may share information about terrible and horrible things that they did. Regardless of what the client says, the therapist's job is to accept the client for who they are. A term often used in therapy is unconditional positive regard. This term means that therapists unconditionally respect the client and accept them. The therapist does not need to agree with the client. There are plenty of times where the therapists will become frustrated with the client because they are not living up to their full potential. The therapist is not going to judge the client, but the therapist will accept the client.
  • Myth #4: Therapists solve all of your problems.
    • Closer to the truth: Therapists help their clients develop skills to solve their own problems.
    • I've known some people who have gone into therapy thinking that all of their problems were going to be immediately solved. These type of clients go from therapist to therapist, searching for someone to "fix" their problems. The truth is that therapy involves a lot of self-work. This means that the client will actively put in time and energy to see change in their life. Yes, the therapist is helping the client initiate and support this change, but the client will also need to put in some work. Therapists will help clients with learning coping techniques, finding support systems, developing communication skills, learning mindfulness strategies, and so much more! The therapist will not just give the client answers, it is a collaborative process. 
  • Myth #5: Therapists are rich
    • Closer to the truth: An average therapists makes around 50k/year (middle-class income).
    • It's true! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most marriage and family therapists in the United States make a middle-class income. This might come to a shock to some people because therapy can be expensive! However, the therapist is not putting all of that money in their bank account. A good portion of the money from the client goes to other expenses like rent for the office space, electricity, paying other employees, insurance, etc. 
    • There are exceptions of course! Some therapist make less than 50k, while other therapists might have a three-figure salary. The variance in salary depends on the type of field the therapist is getting into. Some therapists end up becoming a best-selling author. Other therapists may be motivational speakers. Overall, a typical therapist is making an average income. 
What are some other myths about therapists? Comment below if you have some in mind!

Thanks for reading! I know you are going to do great things!

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