Misconceptions About Therapy and Mental Healthcare

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Here in Washington, DC, and around the country, people are not doing enough to care for their mental health. While most of us would be reluctant to skip our yearly physical examination or would walk around on a broken bone, many of us appear to be just fine with avoiding the psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist. Many of us ignore mental health conditions — in fact, some of us don’t even realize what we’re struggling with would be a diagnosable condition.

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Part of what prevents people from getting the help that they need is the fact that therapy and other forms of mental healthcare are not particularly well understood. We’re here to dispel a few major myths in the hope of getting more people to see just how powerful modern, evidence-based mental health treatments can be. Below, we’ll lay out the myths we see too often and share the reasons that they’re simply inaccurate.

Myth: Therapists are not “real” doctors

Whether or not your mental health care provider is a medical doctor will depend on what sort of mental health care you need. You absolutely can have your mental health issues addressed by someone with an M.D..  However, virtually all of the types of professionals that provide mental health care are dedicated, highly educated, and extensively trained.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors. Psychologists also hold doctoral degrees, — expect to see a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree after their names. Other types of licensed therapists may not have doctorates, but are nevertheless well-trained and frequently just as helpful as their doctorate-holding counterparts.

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Here in Washington, DC, we’re lucky enough to have some of the very best therapists of all types. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists in DC come from world-class universities and work in an environment full of highly trained peers, explain the professionals at Therapy Group of DC, so you can expect to get the very best treatment here.

Myth: Therapy is for people who can’t handle things on their own

One of the most dangerous myths about therapy is that it is for the “weak.” To some of us, the idea of getting help for our mental health issues stings. We want to believe that we’re smart and strong enough to go it alone. But that’s not how mental health works and pretending that anyone (even the smartest and strongest among us!) would be better off working through their mental health alone is a mistake.

The reality, of course, is that therapy is for everyone. Tackling your issues with the help of a professional is simply the safest and most effective way to go about caring for your mind. Again, you wouldn’t turn down professional help for a broken leg or pneumonia — why assume your psychological distress or mind will heal itself?

Myth: Therapy is only for people with serious mental illnesses

Therapy is not just for those of us who suffer from extreme mental health issues. In reality, therapy is helpful for everyone, from those with the most serious issues to those wanting to improve their performance at work or become a more present source of support for their partner. Couples therapy can work wonders even when neither party in the couple has a mental health issue, for instance.

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Additionally, it can be hard to recognize anxiety and depression in ourselves, especially since there are degrees of both issues. And statistics tell us that huge numbers of Americans suffer from both conditions, so don’t assume that you’re totally clear of any problems — especially if you live in a stressful place like DC! A therapist can help you identify the warning signs of a more serious problem and provide options for healthy and effective responses.