Therapy Resistance Is A Thing

Resiliencetree.com photo of therapist and client

Resisting Therapy

“There’s nothing wrong with me”

I have clients, mostly men, that confess that they have been resisting therapy. Some are curious about it but never will go. Some secretly wish they could go but don’t want to admit this. Many resist because they are embarrassed or they do not think therapy works. “What is she going to tell me that I don’t know?” Or “in our family, we don’t share our problems.” “Therapy is for weak people” “There’s nothing wrong with me” “I don’t need advice” “No one tells me what to do” Once they come to therapy, they do great.

Occasionally, when I ask why had you been resisting therapy, they will say it’s too abstract for them to take seriously. It’s too “woo woo”

 It amuses me that therapy is so easily dismissed. I wonder why we practitioners spend 60 credit hours of post-graduate time in classrooms, libraries, and internships. Or the many hours studying for the exam to pass the licensing requirements for our state. Or the required on-going credit hours we need to keep our license. It feels as if no other profession is so quickly disqualified.

Resisting Therapy, Its Not The Credentials 

 It takes a bartender 1 week to get certified. But we order our drinks with confidence. It takes a realtor 45-75 hours of study to get certified. It takes a lawyer 12-15 graduate credit hours. We never question the need for their expertise. Compare that to the rigorous program of becoming a mental health clinician. Not to mention the 7 years of supervision that follows! So why do we have this attitude about therapy? 

Here is a link to an article that has some insight about our hesitation about therapy. 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-grown/201510/5-reasons-we-resist-therapy-and-4-reasons-we-shouldnt

Everybody Has Problems

There is a huge wave in the nation right now to advocate for one’s mental health as much as for our physical health. We can thank the younger generations, from the Millennials down to the New Silent Z’s for this beneficial trend. The younger generations realize that life is a challenge, no matter who you are. They also accept that no one is “normal”. Each of us rides a spectrum of emotional and physical fluctuations at any given time in our lives, depending on the circumstances.

What is good mental health?

What is good mental health? 

It is when we can function routinely well and have a general sense of well-being, physically and emotionally. 

For example, we get to work or school every day, we feel part of a support system, we enjoy hobbies, friends and, fun. We approach life with mostly a positive outlook.   

Barriers To Therapy

There are barriers to getting help via therapy. Many health insurance policies do not cover mental health benefits. Therapy can be expensive. Stigma is a massive barrier for many. Often, we don’t want anyone to know we are going to a therapist. Sometimes, we worry that we will not find a therapist that “gets us”. Trust can be scary for some of us.

Resilience Tree Is Here For Those Who Resist Traditional Therapy

One reason Jim McElrath, my partner, and I founded Resilience Tree is that we wanted to make it possible for anyone to access help. We wanted to offer research-based self-care techniques that we use in therapy. The Resilience Tree website is a place where anyone can find a series of helpful online courses. They are reasonably priced and some are free.

 The courses are not a substitute for a live therapy session. However, people can be exposed to ideas in self-care practices that are part of live therapy. We designed the classes using researched information and best practices that we use every day in sessions with our clients. The courses are a solid source of help for those that can’t afford to go to therapy or who do not want to go. Our classes on Break-up Resilience, for example, has many strategies that can help alleviate some of the pain that comes with the disillusion of a romantic partnership. It also helps to know you are not alone in your struggles.

Other topics that we tackle include building strong relationships, coping with anxiety or depression. Our theme of building resilience through mindfulness informed practice is derived from the work of some of the leading practitioners in our field. We don’t pretend to be the only source of help, but we have pulled together accessible information in our courses along with videos, articles, links and we are available to answer questions or offer support. If you or someone you know might benefit, check us out at https://www.resiliencetree.com

Myriam Mayshark, LMHC is a licensed mental health therapist in New York State.  

More reading: 

https://www.talkspace.com/blog/truth-people-therapy-misconceptions-myths/