When it comes to therapy, plenty of misconceptions abound. People often aren’t sure what to expect from their sessions and have questions, doubts, and concerns. Will it instantly make them feel better? Will it involve lots of inner self-reflection and serious conversations all the time? Will the therapist be judgmental? Do you have to lie down on the couch like on TV? Will there be lots of crying?
We’re exploring the different aspects of therapy this Mental Health Awareness Month. This week, we asked people from around the world to share some of their most interesting experiences and the lessons they’ve learned in therapy.
Pranita Pandurangi, India, teacher and musician
“I was 18 when I first went to therapy. It was really funny. The therapist basically had a really small place where he was practicing and there was an extremely thin curtain separating his counseling room and the waiting area. I went on and on about my breakup and I’d completely forgotten about that curtain. And I cried. When I came back to my senses, I was really embarrassed. My parents were sitting in the next room and probably heard everything I said!”
Rehnuma Choudhury, U.K., copywriter
“I was under the impression that the counselor would kind of tell me what was “wrong” with me, or have some magical deep insight into my issues that I didn’t. But, it wasn’t actually like that at all. It was more of a conversation where I had to do most of the work outside of our sessions — either thinking through things we discussed or through “homework” and the counselor mostly guided me through what I was feeling.”
Gautam Ravichandran, India, marketing professional
“There were many light-hearted moments in therapy. I was asked a lot of things like embarrassing moments from my childhood, pranks I’d pulled — things that cracked me up and the therapist as well. I considered therapy as a magic wand which was supposed to help me solve my problems, which it is not. At best, it’ll give you a clear perspective of things which will probably help you deal with situations better.”
Trevor Mills, Canada, musician and teacher
“Prior to seeing a grief counselor, my other experiences included counseling as a child when my parents were divorcing. I found the sessions helpful and surprisingly light and fun. Although in the media, I had seen counseling presented as something “damaged” people do and something that is not “masculine,” I never really bought into those stereotypes.”
Shabnam Shabir, U.K., call operator
“In counseling, we spoke about my childhood and good times. Watching movies makes you think you’re going to be lying down on the couch and one session will make everything OK. I’ve realized that isn’t correct. Things take time! Therapy did surprise me because when we spoke, the therapist brought up stuff from my childhood and teen years which have all played a role in me feeling the way I did.”
Want to share your therapy experience or want us to delve into a story? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.