7 Common Misconceptions About Psychotherapy

During its existence, psychotherapy has acquired many myths. We have collected and debunked the most common of them.

It can be unsettling to hear the word "psychotherapy" - there are so many conjectures around it. Someone thinks that going to a psychologist is a lot of mentally ill people, someone - that this is, in principle, a pointless exercise. These statements, like many others, are wrong. The most popular of them are presented and refuted below.

1. Only psychos go to psychotherapists

This is arguably the most significant myth about psychotherapy. Despite the fact that it has been said numerous times; psychiatrists treat people with mental disabilities. All the rest turn to psychotherapists to understand themselves and their lives. The reason for consultations may be the most common; for example, a desire to earn more money or to improve relations with a partner.

Lynn Bufka, a spokeswoman for the American Psychological Association, advises those who feel overwhelmed and overwhelmed to see a specialist.

2. Psychotherapy is for losers. I can solve my problems myself

If a person has a tumor, he turns to the surgeon and does not operate independently. The same should be said for the most important human organ - the soul. Therefore, if everything is not all right with her, it is better to ask a professional for help than to self-medicate.

Natalia Kiselnikova, Head of the Laboratory of Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy at the Psychological Institute of the Russian Academy of Education, highlights that neither professional psychology books nor drug treatment can replace therapy. The ability to communicate with oneself develops not through the acquisition of new knowledge but in contact with others. And not a single pill helps to find the meaning of life.

Read also: 7 Ways To Properly Resolve Conflicts In Relationships.

3. My psychologist is my friend

First, a friend cannot be a psychotherapist. And professor Ryan Howes at the Fuller School of Psychology gives several explanations for this. The first is that even the wisest friend lacks a professional education, which a psychotherapist can spend up to 10 years on.

The second reason is the involvement of friends in interpersonal relationships, which exclude objectivity on the part of one and the necessary liberation from the other.

Incidentally, this is why professional therapists never work with family and friends.

Another position is also wrong; the therapist is just a paid friend. As New York psychologist Alina Gerst notes, the bond between therapist and patient is a very peculiar one, where the latter is given much more attention than the former. This fact alone interferes with the creation of real friendships.

7 Common Misconceptions About Psychotherapy
Image source: Reproduction/Internet

4. Sports can replace psychotherapy

Sports activities, of course, stimulate the release of endorphins; that is, they are a kind of antidepressant. However, in general, they do not solve psychological issues. On the contrary, strenuous exercise can provide an escape from difficulties and ultimately lead to physical injury.

The situation is different if the sport is combined with psychotherapy. A similar active method, for example, is practiced by Felix Treitler, an American psychotherapist and tennis player. He engages in numerous physical and creative activities with his patients. Certain emotions are worked out: from anger and frustration to joy and a sense of success.

5. Psychotherapy takes a long time

This statement rather refers to psychoanalysis. In addition to it, there are many other practices and quite short-term ones. Also, the patient himself can set the time frame for his therapy. In the end, her success largely depends on his desire.

6. Psychologists only need money

Ryan Howes rightly notes that people who want to get rich are more likely to go into business than spend the entire day listening to other people's problems. This does not mean that the psychologist does not need money; like every professional, he seeks to be rewarded for his work. But he also wants to get satisfaction from her. A professional psychologist's primary responsibility is to help the patient deal with his problem. The faster and more efficiently he does it, the more successful he will feel.

7. Psychotherapy didn't help me, so it doesn't work

The reasons why psychotherapy proved ineffective are very different. For example, a client may make such a conclusion after one or two sessions, when a connection with a psychologist has not yet been established, and the practice has not really begun.

Another reason is insufficient patient involvement in the process.

Many people think that psychotherapy will magically make their troubles go away. But being present at meetings is not enough: you need to work hard with a psychologist.

Also, one should remember: the therapist does not possess the secret of a happy life. He does not give advice but only helps to know yourself better and look at the world differently.

Also read: How To Protect Yourself From Depression: 5 Good Habits

Finally, another reason for the therapy's ineffectiveness may be that the person did not find his specialist. Clinical psychologist and blogger Stephanie Smith argues that compatibility between therapist and client is the key to a successful practice. It is more important than the doctor's credentials and qualifications, as well as the method and duration of therapy.


In the end, psychotherapy is a personal choice. But he, at least, should be based on a correct understanding of the subject. Otherwise, a person is held captive by illusions and alienates himself from possible solutions to problems.