Erasing the Stigma of Therapy: It’s for Awesome People, Too!

Posted October 8, 2012 by Monica O'Connell in Life After Five

It’s hard to believe, but therapy is still stigmatized — and sometimes considered to be catered to the weak. Being a therapist, and having countless friends who are therapists, counselors, and coaches, when one of us announces we are working with a therapist, the reaction is not one of shock or judgment, but of excitement and clear recommendations. Outside of my closest friends and colleagues, however, it appears that many believe you have to be pretty “messed up” to seek therapy.

What are some reasons you might seek a therapist?

  1. Self

    • You’re a cute gal who totally can’t buy into the idea that you’re a cute gal. You’re successful by any measure but no matter how successful you are, you feel like a failure. You’re losing sleep about it or it’s become obsessive — all you do is work.
    • You beat yourself up about everything. You totally resonate with the shame stuff I’ve talked about and you’re sick of it being in your head.
    • It’s time to take your life to the next level. For some people that’s about some soul-searching, goal-setting, life-loving conversations. You’re ready to maximize this one wild and precious life you have.
  2. Relationships
    • You’re a single gal, you’re on, and every date you have sucks. Is it about me? What am I doing wrong? No matter the reassurance from your friends, you still struggle to believe that you’ll find a happy, healthy relationship.
    • You and your partner are having “communication issues,” which for therapists reads: you’re fighting about something and it feels unresolved. For a lot of people it’s about sex, money or your family and your partner’s family. For some people it’s about some sneaky old relationship patterns that you don’t want to have any more.
    • You and your partner have a great relationship. One to write home to mom about. You want to make sure it lasts and are looking for some relationship boosters to keep it loving, spicy, and fun.

The reasons above might not be what you’d generally assume about therapy goers. But it’s true. You can go to therapy because your life is messy and unmanageable and you can go to therapy if your life is awesome and you want it to be over the top fantastic. But let’s stop the sigma, and start making our lives better and applauding others who do as well.

About the Author

Monica O'Connell

Monica O’Connell is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In her practice, she spends her career cheering on “Career Girls” as they learn how to get the most out of life. Monica works with arguably some of the most successful, intelligent, inspiring women in the Twin Cities who tackle self-discovery, career success, and what’s getting in the way of their true desires. She shares her favorite moments as those “best described not by words but by the stomach aching, face soreness that comes from spending an entire day laughing with loved ones.”