By Dr. April Minatrea - Clinical PsychologistApr 10, 2017

Just about anyone can benefit from having someone to talk to—someone who will listen and/or give advice when they need it, especially an objective party who is an expert in helping people find happiness.  So why don’t more people take advantage of the opportunity to seek counseling?  Here are the most common excuses…and the truth to overcome them. 

1. It’s too expensive.  While finances may be a factor, this is often a matter of perspective and priorities.  Think about how much a typical college education costs—all to learn what somebody else decides is important and much of which you may never use.  You can get months of counseling—totally focused on you and what is important to you, with the potential to forever change the course of your life—for a fraction of what you’d pay for college tuition.  You are worth the investment! 

2. I don’t have time.  Counseling doesn’t have to last for years, and many people can benefit from even 1-2 sessions per month.  If you can’t find 1-2 hours a month for yourself, then you’re probably stressed out!  Counseling can help with boundaries and time management, as well as making yourself a priority. 

3. I’m not crazy.  Good for you!  Counseling is not just for people with mental illness.  It’s one of the ways that strong, mentally healthy people stay that way.  The best athletes in the world still have coaches—not because they are weak or struggling but because it helps them keep on top of their game and reach peak performance.

4. I don’t want to talk about my feelings.  You don’t have to.  Counseling can take a logical, cognitive approach and can be solution-focused.  Many clients report the practical tools they’ve learned are very helpful. 

5. I don’t want to talk about my mother.  You don’t have to.  Counseling can focus on your life in the present and/or what you want for the future.   

6. I don’t want to talk about sex.  You don’t have to.  Counseling can focus on the topics of your choice.

7. I can’t find anyone who takes my insurance.  Healthcare is changing, and many mental health professionals–including counselors in Southlake–don’t take insurance.  However, you may be able to receive reimbursement by filing out-of-network.  On the other hand, it is important to keep in mind that paying privately could be to your advantage.  Many insurance plans won’t cover therapy unless you are diagnosed with a mental disorder (whether you are in-network or out), and won’t pay unless they get information about your diagnosis, treatment, etc.  As privacy concerns increase, more and more people are opting not to use their benefits and pay out of pocket so that their diagnoses and mental health histories remain confidential.  Keep in mind that this information may impact future insurability, as well as other things for which mental health is taken into consideration (e.g., employment, concealed handgun license, etc.).  If you want to pay privately, there may be other ways besides insurance to help with the costs, such as using a Health Savings or Flex Spending Account or asking for a discount for pre-payment if you buy a package of sessions up front. 

8. I can handle things on my own.  That may be….but you don’t have to.  Blind spots are, by definition, things you can’t see.  Having another person who can give you feedback may get you there faster.  Also, our brains process information differently when we express things out loud, as well as when we do so with another person.  The counseling relationship can provide a mirror or a laboratory to help you discover things you would never have seen on your own.   

9. No one else has been through what I’ve been through.  You may be absolutely right.  Even if someone else has been through something similar, no one else has been through what you have been through AS YOU.  But this doesn’t mean that another person can’t help.  If you’ve been shot, it doesn’t matter whether your doctor has ever been shot, too.  What matters most is whether he or she knows how to do surgery.

10. Talking about it won’t change it.  Talking might not change the circumstances, but talking through it can change your perspective.  There’s evidence that cognitive therapy can lead to changes in the brain—some of which can be detected within just four days!  As you come to see the situation differently, you can find joy and peace, regardless of the circumstance.