7 Questions People Who See a Shrink Are Tired of Hearing

I may not be a fan of psychiatric drugs but I do like therapy (so long as it’s a good therapist). Here is a list of 7 things people assume about therapy that are irritating to those of us who have experience with it.


1. “Therapists just agree with everything you say to make you feel better about your life.”

I have had counsellors call me out on distorted thinking or when I am closing myself off. I don’t want them to agree with me all the time! That won’t get me anywhere and that means they’re not doing their job.

2. “Your therapist must think I’m a horrible person because of all the things you say about me.”

My counsellors have actually pointed out to me that something I had said might have triggered an undesirable response in someone. They’re not against anyone. I am their client though so their number one concern is me.

3. “Isn’t therapy just talking about how terrible your childhood was and blaming your parents for everything wrong with your life?”

My parents never did anything wrong and I have enough issues in the present that I don’t need to go back into the past!

4. “Do you lay on a long couch and cry?”

I have never lay on a couch. I cry sitting in a chair or I don’t cry at all.

5. “Why not talk to your friends and family instead of a stranger?”

Friends and family are biased. Friends and family don’t always have the resources and tools you need.

6. “But the fact that you’re paying her means she has to pretend to care about you.”

I have never paid for a counsellor.

7. “Is therapy really worth it?”

That is entirely up to you. For me it has been.


What are some questions you’ve heard about therapy?


14 thoughts on “7 Questions People Who See a Shrink Are Tired of Hearing

  1. The one I’ve gotten a few times that drives me crazy is, “Therapists just want to keep you sick because then they can make a ton of money off you.” I’m pretty damn good at reading people, and I know when I’m making progress and when I’m not. Why don’t you let me be the judge?

  2. Wow! “Nail” and “head” come to mind when I read this. And I would have to say, that those are in no particular order, because I have heard #2 the mos, followed by #5.

    Sometimes it would be best for people to realize that going through these processes are what is best for the person going, and not what other people think is best…

    Great post! 🙂

  3. Q?~~~You DON’T pay for therapy and never have? How’d you do that?

    I know I have strayed on the question adn I don’t think I have any questions that people have asked me, it is more like, “Oh, I did therapy a long time ago (50 years!) and it didn’t help”. Well, no sh** it didn’t work! haha!

    Ya have to want help to change your life. It takes a commitment from you and the T. T won’t work if you are made to go and if your mind is not open to change. Therapy is an action word. I believe that Honesty (yes, with a capital H) is the only way it will help.
    I have said to my T that it really doesn’t matter what happened in the past or how I reacted. What matters, is now. I want a better life NOW! It is slow because it took me a year to sort of trust her. Even now I still freak and think things that are not real.
    Therapy helps me vent all kinds of things that I am not willing to discuss with family or friends. They often judge and it can be painful; it is the bias you talked about.
    However, I have had a T that was bias so it was not helpful and indeed was hurtful. So you have to have a good one.

    OK, here is my question because the hard part is picking one; if you don’t know what “healthy” is, how do you know they are any good at their job? I know we can read the laws, but on a deeper level then the law. if you don’t know their triggers and their reaction, it can be life or death to a MI person. Not all T’s are good! Maybe there are ways to find a good one, but seems to me it is luck of the draw. Hope I am wrong; please gift me with your thoughts!

    • The therapy I have pursued have all been through some sort of public or the organization received funding that made free services possible (ie: high school, hospital, Planned Parenthood).

      I always told people the same, therapy works if you want it to. Of course you need to have a good match between methodology, therapist and client also.

      Most of the individuals I know, when they thought they had a bad therapist they left. It was something they felt, an intuition I guess. I get what you’re saying though about what do you do if you don’t know what healthy is and that would make it harder. That is when I would hope loved ones can offer support. I do make sure to do my best to pick a good therapist. I can’t shop around because I can’t pay for it but I know I only want social workers and I read up about the organization they are apart of to see if the organization at least fits my beliefs and values.

  4. I’ve paid my therapist — in fact, she doesn’t take insurance so I pay her directly and submit for reimbursement (which I sometimes get and sometimes do not — private health insurance, sigh).

    But the point is she doesn’t always agree with me, and she isn’t being paid to like me, but to help me. Yes, we get along and have a *friendly* relationship, we’re better able to work together that way. But that’s a lot different from actually being friends, that we could never be, and she isn’t afraid to point out when my thinking or behavior my be faulty — which is a big part of having a therapist! If she just agreed I was right all the time, how would that help me grow and better my life?

    Great piece!

  5. I grew up in a family in which taking pills and seeing therapists was just something you did to take care of yourself. Not so different than a person with say, diabetes taking care of themselves. It was kind of culture shock to encounter the stigma towards mental illness in the rest of society.

    • I can’t imagine going to a doctor for much. Taking care of myself is a very interesting thing to me. We were raised that when we got hurt we never told anyone. I only saw a doctor once after a bee sting cause I’d’v died. I splinted my own broken bones and never even thought to ask to see a doctor! When you are raised with parents who never show care or concern, you just learn not to ask. it’s a non issue.
      To this day I have a hard time seeing doctors for anything. I will be in pain for a year before I give up and go.
      I wish I’d not had children, I am sure I was a big eff up. But I did my best.

  6. Friends and family can also (experienced it) stop letting you talk them and end up having them leave your life because they can’t deal with it all.

    Never had a couch in any office I have gone to see a psychiatrist, always a chair, and usually darn uncomfortable too.

    I have paid for therapy before but in the US, but its a pay as you go system down there, insurance covered most, so I was only paying 20-30 out of pocket, downside is insurance only covered like 5 visits per year.

    Never paid for a psychiatrist in Canada, but their services are covered under MSP. Haven’t seen a therapist here though since their services are not covered.

  7. I think this is such an important post, especially for those who have little to no experience with therapists themselves.Hopefully understanding what goes on in a therapist’s office will help get rid of some of questions you list!

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