If you are suffering from a serious mental health problem; if you need more clarity and would like a professional to give you guidance; if you feel stuck in your life and desperately need to change, then I encourage you to ask for help immediately and talk to an experienced therapist.
We can’t solve all our problems ourselves, and no matter how awkward or ashamed we may feel, sometimes we must ask for help and trust someone who is smarter than us. Therapy may be uncomfortable, but it can also lead you to move on and become the best version of yourself.
Having said that, here are eight reasons you may want to avoid therapy and consider a different path. If you don’t have time to read the whole article, feel free to skip to the summary at the end.
Reasons not to go to therapy
1. You don’t want to change
Even the best psychologist in the world will not be able to help you unless you are willing to change and grow. While your goal isn’t to become a completely different person, you may need to go through a mindset shift in order to heal; if you are not ready or willing to evolve, it’s going to be very hard to do so.
Depending on your therapist’s approach, you may be required to change not just your thought patterns, but your habits and behavior as well. This is what commonly happens, for instance, in CBT — cognitive behavioral therapy.
Now, if your therapist suggests a method or approach that you don’t like (whether it’s the frequency of the sessions, what you will talk about, or your homework), do tell them, so you can find the best possible solution together. But if you are too rigid, and refuse to change in any way, therapy won’t do much for you. A good therapist can guide you on the right path, but ultimately, you are in charge of your destiny.
2. It can be expensive
If you decide to go to therapy, the amount of money you will need to pay depends on two main factors: the cost of each session, and the number of sessions you will need.
Although it is possible to talk to some therapists for free or for cheap, and minimize the number of sessions required, it would be best to choose an experienced therapist — ideally one who specializes in your area of need — and invest your time in therapy without having to worry about a specific deadline or time frame.
Therapy can be expensive, and depending on your financial situation, it may be too expensive. However if you can afford it, but think it’s simply not a priority, I encourage you to really think about it. Your mental health is extremely important, and if you choose to invest money in it, it will always be a good decision in the long term. If you are willing to change, and talk to a therapist that truly understands your needs, I guarantee it won’t be a waste of money.
3. Your therapist’s approach or attitude
We are all different; depending on our personality type, there may be people we just can’t resonate with. Therapists are human beings like anyone else, so if you have started therapy and noticed that the person you are talking to isn’t the right one, perhaps you should find a different one.
When you work on your mental health, you may have to deal with your inner demons, some of your limiting beliefs, painful events from the past, or things that make you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed in general. This is why it’s super important that you feel at ease during your therapy sessions.
If your therapist’s attitude isn’t your cup of tea, for whatever reason (for example, they may seem too cold or detached; or, conversely, too friendly), then it’s perfectly fine to stop seeing them. Similarly, if you don’t like the way they work or the type of therapy and techniques they use, it would be best to find one whose approach better suits your needs.
4. You don’t need therapy
Here’s the thing: there is no need to fix every single one of our problems, faults, or imperfections. In fact, if you are trying to achieve a life that is 100 percent perfect, you are probably wasting your time (more on this in a minute).
Though it should be everyone’s goal to become the best version of themselves, we are not supposed to be perfect in any way; some of our negative traits make us unique, and even allow us to function in our everyday life.
Major mental health issues such as severe depression or panic attacks must be addressed as soon as possible, but that’s not the case for minor issues that don’t really affect the quality of your life. Just like you wouldn’t spend hours trying to straighten a single card in a spectacular 7-feet tall house of cards — similarly, sometimes you need to ignore some of the things you don’t like about yourself and focus on what you do like.
5. You don’t have patience
This totally depends on the issue you are experiencing, as well as the approach of your therapist. In some cases, patience isn’t really required: for instance, if you want to get rid of panic attacks and your therapist uses CBT, chances are you will achieve your goal within a few sessions.
Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for other mental health issues you may have developed over the course of many years. And while most therapists no longer adopt long-term therapy or traditional psychotherapy, and prefer to use faster treatments, some problems can’t be solved in just one or two sessions.
If you don’t have patience, and you expect to overcome all your issues instantly, then therapy may not be ideal for you. If you are not sure how long it will take to reach your goal, feel free to contact a therapist and ask them. By describing what your goal is, most therapists will be able to tell you the approximate amount of time/sessions needed.
6. There are other ways to heal
Depending on what you want to achieve, there may be other treatments that are as effective as therapy — perhaps even more effective, or faster. For example, you may be suffering from a specific phobia and find out that hypnotherapy would likely be the best choice.
Or, you may be going through a time in which you have to deal with a lot of stress and anxiety, but decide that therapy isn’t for you and opt for weekly relaxing massages instead. Ultimately, what matters is that you achieve your goal, and chances are that therapy isn’t the only way to get there.
There are a lot of holistic therapies you can try, including aromatherapy, acupuncture, homeopathy, reiki, and meditation. And while they are very different from therapy, in some cases they may be equally useful.
7. You expect a perfect life
If you have unrealistic standards, it will be impossible for you to experience true happiness and fulfilment. In life, your goal isn’t perfection but greatness, and if you are thinking of going to therapy so you can have a perfect existence, you need to change your mindset.
Social media, TV, and ads often portray a distorted view of reality; they often show us extremes rather than normality; it sounds cliched, but it’s true. While you do want to be the happiest you have ever been, there’s no such thing as being perfectly happy all the time.
Imperfection and perfection go so hand in hand, and our dark and our light are so intertwined, that by trying to push the darkness or the so-called negative aspects of our life to the side… we are preventing ourselves from the fullness of life.— Jeff Bridges
8. You are in the wrong environment
The eight and final reason not to go to therapy is that you may be in the wrong environment. If you are surrounded by energy vampires, toxic people, or people who try to put you down, then the most sensible thing to do is to change your environment.
It’s depressing to see how in our society so many people work jobs they hate, interact with people they don’t really care about, have habits that deteriorate their mental health — and expect therapy, or any other treatment, to automatically fix all their problems.
Yes, therapy can do wonders, but don’t expect any miraculous fixes. Be 100 percent honest with yourself: if you know that most of your depression or frustration is caused by your environment, then you need to change your environment — not yourself.
Reasons not to go to therapy: summary
You may want to avoid therapy if you…
- Are not ready or willing to change, grow, or evolve in any way
- Believe that the sessions are too expensive
- Don’t resonate with your therapist’s attitude or approach
- Don’t have any major mental health issues and have an overall satisfying life
- Are not patient and want to solve your issues immediately
- Have found other ways to heal that are as effective, or even better
- Have unrealistic standards and expect to have a perfect life
- Need to change your environment first