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3 Common Fears About Starting Therapy and How to Alleviate Them

Photo by Terry Tan De Hao on Unsplash

To a psychologist, it seems obvious that those seeking to improve their lives would be eager to start therapy. However, the fact is that three common and normal fears often prevent people from getting started.

First, you may be anxious about sharing your personal history with a stranger, especially if it includes painful memories. It may be reassuring to know that being in therapy does not in any way obligate you to spill all your secrets. The goal is to help you improve your life in the way that you want. Therefore, therapy focuses on topics that you feel are important to discuss. If that does include some difficult subjects, then you will be encouraged to explore those areas only when you feel safe and ready to do so. The hope is that you will feel more comfortable opening up as the therapy progresses. In fact, the increased ability to share more about yourself is likely a sign of progress.

Second, in many circles the old stigma about people who go to therapy sadly remains in place. It’s silly, really, because going to any doctor for a treatable issue is clearly the right thing to do, whether that doctor is a dentist, cardiologist, or psychologist. But since some people don’t want others to know they’re seeing a psychologist, it may be helpful to know that one of the core principles of therapy is confidentiality. That means that not only is a psychologist prohibited from revealing any information about your therapy, but also is not even allowed to disclose that you are on their list of clients.

Lastly, perhaps the greatest barrier to starting therapy is fear of the unknown. There’s a great deal of comfort in continuing down the same path you’ve been on your entire life even if it isn’t really working for you. Being stuck in a rut isn’t fun, but at least you know where you’re stuck. Therapy may involve exploring the unknown, but only on your terms and at your pace. Ultimately, just as you are in charge of your life, you are in charge of your therapy. If you believe that you deserve a better life and have the courage to make it better, starting therapy is simply a great first step.

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