May 9, 2023
In today’s stressful society, there’s more demand than ever for therapists and counsellors to help us navigate through tough times. There’s a huge variety of therapy and counselling types available, far beyond the stereotype of laying on a sofa and rattling off your problems to someone behind a notebook. Recently we’ve seen more discussions around the benefits of therapy and counselling, and even top celebrities have spoken openly about seeking help.
But despite this shift in perception, there is still a reluctance for some around seeking help. If you’re a counsellor or therapist yourself, you may find you have to handle some objections before a potential client feels ready to book their first session with you. Here we’ll look at ten common myths about therapy, so you can dispel them for good and maximise your business opportunities, whichever tools you use:
The stigma that seeking help makes someone “weak” or “crazy” can stem from inner voice or from the people around us. These outdated attitudes are probably ingrained remnants carried over from when we still had mental asylums where patients were classed as lower rate citizens. Thankfully, this belief is declining the more it’s being discussed in the mainstream. It’s now more widely accepted that seeing a therapist or counsellor is just like going to any other specialist that you’d see, for example a physiotherapist or osteopath.
This assumption is perhaps why people hesitate to see a therapist, thinking they’re not “bad” enough to benefit from therapy. While it can be invaluable for many who turn to counselling for these reasons, it’s also a great way to work through or get a new perspective on things that might have just started to play on people’s minds or affect the way they’re coping in day-to-day life. Getting early support can help to refocus and diffuse anything that might escalate and become more challenging in the future.
One of the very first things a patient will establish with their therapist, even before beginning any sessions, is confidentiality. Sessions are strictly confidential and unless they provide express permission, you should not share any session details with anyone. There are some exceptions to this: for example, if you are concerned for their safety, you may contact other health professional services. Generally speaking, no-one should know they are seeing a therapist or counsellor unless they choose to tell people.
This is another popular misconception. Whilst some specialists can charge a considerable amount per session, there are a range of price points and many offer a free consultation. There are free services via GPs and mental health charities but these can come with long waiting times. For most people, the value of seeing a therapist and what they get from your sessions can be well worth reconsidering their financial priorities.
Counsellors are trained not be judgmental or to respond in a judgmental way. They are impartial and they will have worked with a whole variety of clients from all walks of life. Their job is to listen in order to help, not to criticise or to form opinions. They have a duty of care, and counsellors should make clear that there are channels to raise complaints or issues if patients feel that they’ve been treated unfairly.
It’s important to acknowledge that the journey through therapy can at times feel intense or overwhelming. Sessions may bring up emotions or memories that are difficult to talk about or to remember. Patients may not leave each session feeling positive and uplifted, but that’s part of the healing process, and a good counsellor will be able to help them navigate these moments. By the end of their time in therapy, patients will most likely feel much better than when they started.
This isn’t necessarily true: the average amount of counselling or therapy people have is between six and 12 sessions. Of course, everyone’s circumstances and needs are unique so some may require more sessions, but generally speaking, most patients will be in a situation where therapy will only be required for a limited period of time.
It’s a popular fear that some ‘condition’ will be discovered during therapy. The majority of the time, this is a person’s mind playing on their insecurities. Most people struggle from time to time and could benefit from some counselling, so it doesn’t automatically mean that something is wrong with them. If you do suspect anything is wrong, then you should refer the patient to their GP for further investigation.
Speaking with a professional is not the same as just talking to friends about challenges. They are trained in skills such as active listening, picking up on words and body language, asking appropriate questions and knowing when and how to help a patient get the most benefit from their sessions.
Once you’ve resolved the common myths about therapy or counselling that you offer, you’ll also want to reassure your clients by having a robust, professional insurance policy in place for those unpredictable moments. Protecting your client, yourself and your business is a must when setting up a therapy or counselling practice, including any services you offer online.
At Protectivity, we offer specialist insurance policies for qualified therapists and counsellors. Our insurance includes Public Liability cover in case of injury or damage to a third party, equipment cover and Professional Indemnity. Our cover is available from just a few pounds a month, and is available through flexible payment plans, so you can get peace of mind for minimal outlay. Take a closer look at our options for therapist insurance and counsellor Insurance.