Reasons why people avoid starting therapy

Mental health therapy is quite scary for a lot of people. There are many reasons why people avoid starting therapy, including the stigma around mental health, length, and cost of the therapy, as well as the fact that most people are not comfortable sharing their innermost feelings. Even if you look for assistance on one of the top online therapy sites, these reasons might stop you from ever starting on the road to mental health improvement. In this article, we are going to explore the ten main reasons why people have a difficult time starting with their therapy sessions and see how they can be overcome.

10 most common reasons why people avoid starting therapy

While there are thousands of reasons why someone would not want to start therapy, some are simply more common than others. Most people who have issues with starting their therapy sessions state one or more of the following reasons:

  1. It is too expensive
  2. The therapist will judge me
  3. I don’t really have that many problems
  4. I can solve my issues on my own
  5. Therapy lasts too long
  6. I will have to share private thoughts with my therapist
  7. I may find out things about myself that I don’t like
  8. My therapist will become a “crutch” for me to lean on
  9. I might have to change my life entirely
  10. People will judge me for seeing a therapist
one of the main reasons why people avoid starting therapy - an empty wallet
Money is usually one of the main reasons why people avoid starting therapy.

As you can see, many of these reasons include the therapist itself. Therefore, it is extremely important to be able to recognize a bad therapist from the get-go, or your therapy (current and future) might be compromised. It is in your best interest to “do your homework” when it comes to choosing a therapist. Luckily, you have all the information readily available, as most top therapy networks provide extensive therapist bios and credentials. But, at the end of the day, you need to “click” with your therapist as well. With that in mind, let’s take a look at why exactly these reasons are so common, and what can you do about them.

#1: Cost

The main issue with mental health therapy (traditional or online) is the fact that it is almost never covered by health insurance. The fact of the matter is that psychotherapy sessions go anywhere from $100-$200, which is something that is unavailable for many people. Online therapy presents a cheaper alternative, though. Even the best online anxiety treatment, for example, is going to set you back less than traditional, in-person, alternatives. It is not that online therapy is necessarily cheaper, per se, but the fact that you don’t need to spend any money on travel expenses quickly adds up. In some cases, the travel expenses might even outweigh the cost of a single session.

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But even online therapy might be considered too expensive by most. The fact that, in most cases, you need to pay from your own pocket for the therapy costs makes it unavailable to most. As far as reasons why people avoid starting therapy go, the prohibitive cost is the most difficult one to handle. The only thing you can do about it is either make more money or spend some time looking for affordable online counseling. There are cheap solutions out there, and you can find them if you spend enough time searching.

#2: Insecurities

We do not like to be judged, no matter what our issues are. Even though most professional therapists would not dream of judging their patients, the fact that they might is usually deeply rooted in their patient’s minds. So much so that they avoid therapy altogether. Unfortunately, there is no good way of knowing or ensuring that your therapist does not judge you. You have to trust that they will not.

judge's gavel, symbolizing one of the reasons why people avoid starting therapy - judgment
Most people dislike being judged.

And, of course, if you feel that the therapist is judging you, all you need to do is change the therapist. Even though you might be undertaking one of the best online CBT therapy programs, if you feel that the therapist is judging you, it is all for naught. There’s a good reason why ridicule, shame, or judgment have no place in counseling. What you can do is try to understand that, at the very least, no therapist worth their proverbial salt will risk their license by openly judging, shaming, or ridiculing their patients. The therapist is there to help you, after all, not to make your situation even more problematic.

Therefore, even though this particular concern is quite common, it is not an “actual” concern. Because good professional therapists do not judge their patients.

#3: Denial

For most, therapy is the “last resort”. Most people only choose to undergo therapy after their problems become too much to handle. But the problem is that by thinking that way, you are depriving yourself of quicker and easier progress. If you wait until the last moment to start therapy, you may find that your issues are much more difficult to heal. Furthermore, you will not be able to make the most out of the benefits of emotion-focused therapy, for example, if you start therapy once your mental state is at its worst. If you believe that therapy can help you, it is best that you start with it as soon as possible.

person meditating
Managing your own mental health issues can only get you so far.

Consider that the sooner you start with therapy, the sooner you will start to feel better. Why spend your time dealing with problems on your own until you can’t handle them anymore? Why not learn how to handle them on your own from the start by starting with the therapy?

#4: Pride

Speaking of solving issues on your own, many people that need therapy also believe that they are fully capable of solving their problems by themselves. But the problem is that they can’t. Sometimes, all of us require help in dealing with some issues and mental health is no exception. For example, if you need to deal with panic attacks on a regular basis, it can be all but impossible to do so on your own with any degree of consistency. But with therapy, you can learn strategies and mechanisms that can help you deal with these attacks in a much easier manner.

You don’t go to therapy the same way as you go to a mechanic. Your therapist is not there to “fix” the problem for you. They are actually there to help you find a way to fix your problems on your own.

#5: Commitment

Another fact is that psychotherapy can last a long time. And that makes most people very reluctant to start with it in the first place. The length of the therapy is probably one of the most common reasons why people avoid starting therapy, in fact. However, this is yet another reason that is somewhat illogical. One of the main advantages of online counseling is the fact that you can schedule your therapy sessions as you see fit. Meaning that you have the ability to decide on both the frequency and the duration of the therapy on your own.

an hourglass, representing one of the reasons why people avoid starting therapy - time
Time is a limited resource, after all.

Not everyone benefits from the same treatment time. For some people, therapy need not become a long-term investment. That being said, “regular” therapy indeed takes quite a while, there’s no denying that. But if you are uncomfortable with the duration, you can always create your own schedule. Even though you might not completely eliminate all your issues, you will still get to work on the most problematic ones, even in the short term.

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#6: Vulnerability

You are going to need to share private thoughts with your therapist. This is something that almost everyone thinks about when considering therapy. While sharing these thoughts is indeed one of the best ways to get better, it is not necessarily required. The patient has all the right to decide what, when, and how much they want to share. Your therapist will work with the information you give them, however, and you can still get a lot out of the therapy sessions even if you do not reveal your innermost thoughts. For example, you can reap most of the benefits of interpersonal therapy without sharing your inner feelings. Much of the therapy is instilling a new skill into their patients or helping them overcome their issues. Yes, the underlying reasons for mental health issues are important but they are not all-important.

#7: Self-awareness

Almost every therapy modality involves patients finding things about themselves that they did not know. This fact can be extremely scary to some and is one of the prime reasons why people avoid starting therapy altogether. There’s no right answer to this, but you may want to consider the following: Even though you might find things about yourself that you don’t like, your enhanced self-awareness will make it easier for you to regain control of your life. According to the NIM self-awareness study, self-awareness is one of the main driving factors in your day-to-day happiness. And you can increase your self-awareness through therapy.

person giving a thumbs down
You might dislike what you find out about yourself.

That being said, you are still “in control” of the information that you receive. You can talk to your therapist and explain your fears to them. That way, your therapist may be able to provide you with the necessary information without revealing too much.

#8: Addiction

You have most likely heard of cases where patients develop a dependent relationship with their therapist. While this does happen from time to time, it is far from frequent. The therapist-patient relationship is usually one of collaboration. In fact, the primary goal of any treatment modality is that the patient becomes capable of handling their situation on their own.

However, despite their best efforts, therapists do sometimes become “crutches” to their patients, there’s no denying that. Again, the solution to this problem is simply talking to your therapist and explaining your fear. That is the best way to ensure that your worst fears do not come to pass. You can also consider online therapy instead of traditional therapy. When it comes to online vs in-person therapy, online therapy tends to be less supportive than the traditional variant. Not being in the same room with the therapist has a lot of other benefits as well, but it does come with some limitations as well, however.

#9: Fear of Change

Therapy changes the patient, right? It has to, in order to solve mental health issues, right? That is flat-out wrong. While therapy does facilitate some changes in their patients, what it really does is provide you with the necessary skills you need to deal with your issues. Most of the time, very little actual change happens after the therapy sessions. Unless, of course, the reason for the therapy is that the patient needs to change.

a couple drinking coffee
You do not need to change a thing if you don’t want to.

But thinking that by starting therapy you will need to change their life is not rational. For example, let’s say that you are trying to overcome relationship anxiety. You may feel that talking to the therapist will compel you to change the way you live your life. But what it will actually do (in most cases) is present you with new options and a different perspective. If you do end up changing something in your life, you will want to change it. That much is certain.

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#10: Mental Health Stigma

Lastly, there’s no denying the fact that stigma about mental health is still around, even in today’s modern world. For many people, the stigma alone can prevent them from starting their therapy sessions. Luckily, as far as reasons why people avoid starting therapy go, this one is rather easy to solve. All you need to do is find an online therapy network and conduct the sessions from any place of your choosing. No one will be able to know that you are attending the therapy sessions in the first place!

If you are looking for the best online therapy networks or anything else concerning online therapy all you need to do is browse the Consumer Opinion Guide. Our extensive knowledge database is there to help you find the best solution!

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