Considering therapy is a bold step.
As there are one of two choices you can make.
Either the difficult decision, which requires you to admit your struggling and need support from a professional…
or you continue…
Bottling your feelings.
Ignoring and avoiding what’s causing you pain, suffering, unhappiness and dissatisfaction in your life…
And take the easy route, doing what you’ve always done, looking outside yourself for answers and choosing not to go.
Like I did, the first time I considered therapy as an option for tackling my suffering.
But took me a second time to consider it, for me to take the plunge and go because I was afraid of three things in particular.
Which you might too be afraid of and why I wanted to write this post.
So without further ado let’s get going.
Reasons to ignore your fears when contemplating therapy
About fear itself
Before we get into the 3 strong fears you need to ignore though…
I want to talk a bit about fear itself because I (and you might too) have often seen fear as a reason not to do something.
But since seeing a therapist, I have realised fear is actually a signal for you to pay closer attention to and explore more fully.
Through, for instance, questioning yourself on what the fear is about and why you’re feeling afraid.
However, what is stopping you from doing that and listening to the answer is your subconscious mind’s fear of the answer and your ability to handle the difficult emotion, which will arise within you.
Because one way or another as you were growing up you learnt acknowledging and feeling your emotions wasn’t safe.
So it’s easier to ignore them and go about your life as though they’re not present within you.
However, it is exactly for this reason why feeling afraid isn’t a reason for you to not go ahead with therapy.
As contemplating therapy and going through with it is a positive step in the right direction.
Since it is a signal you want to do better by understanding:
- why you feel how you feel;
- what you’re doing wrong so you can do it differently and get different results; and
- how your life has turned out the way it has if your currently incredibly dissatisfied with it
So instead what you need to do is ignore them and recognise:
- the fear arising when your considering therapy is a fear you’ve had many times before; and
- is a part of the tricks your mind plays to keep you safe and away from danger
Related: 3 ways Psychotherapy can support you
Research related to fear
To begin, let’s start with Dr Joe Dispenza.
Dr Joe Dispenza on fear, uncertainty and change
The reason I’m bringing Dr Joe Dispenza into this discussion is he says people don’t like being in the unknown.
They like familiarity and certainty because that’s how they have been hard-wired.
However, to be able to change your life, you have to be in the unknown and be open to getting the things you want in ways you never expected.
Also, to be able to get what you’ve never got you need to make different decisions to the ones you’re making.
As it’s the different decisions and choices you make in any given moment, which will bring about different experiences into your life.
Like I say Kristina Karlsson did in my post Review your year.
Therefore, by considering therapy and ultimately choosing this option you are choosing to be in the unknown and unfamiliar.
You are choosing the option to change your mind over and over again.
In particular, around how you understand yourself, others and your life itself.
And by contemplating and making the decision to see a therapist you’re already in the process of making change happen in your life.
And once you’ve committed (with your mind, body and soul) to go through with it, all you need to do is stick with the process.
Because therapy is not the first option anyone decides to try when they are struggling. It’s often the last resort.
As a result, showing once again fear (in this instance) isn’t to be listened to as you are wired to fear the unknown.
So you are to ignore the fear and the way it disguises itself, which is what your mind does by bringing up the strong fears I’ll be discussing later on.
Because one reason you’re afraid to do it is it requires you to do something unfamiliar to you, which you don’t know is going to work or how it will work to get you different results in your life.
And it’s only by diving into therapy, you’ll get to understand this further.
Dr Joe Dispenza Resources
- You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter;
- Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How To Lose Your Mind And Create A New One; and
- Becoming Supernatural
Brene Brown on vulnerability
Brene Brown’s research has also shown people who struggle and have to hustle for connection are those who struggle with vulnerability.
And the people who struggle with vulnerability, struggle to build and maintain close and intimate relationships with others.
Therefore, it is also for this reason, you are afraid of therapy.
As your subconscious mind is afraid of the degree of openness and honesty it will require you to be with somebody you do not know.
In a way, you may have never done with anybody before and a setting you are unfamiliar with.
As it is ashamed and embarrassed by all you have experienced, think and feel and has built a wall so tall it doesn’t want you to let anyone in.
Brene Brown Resources
You are not alone
Elizabeth Gilbert (Author of ‘Eat Pray Love’).
Have all confessed fear always arises, whenever they want to create something new.
Even if it’s as small as writing a poem in Elizabeth Gilbert’s case.
Therefore, reinforcing the fear that arises when you’re considering therapy is normal and natural as you’re choosing to do something different to what you were planning to do.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
To further unpick fear, I want to draw your attention to a passage in the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.
Since although this book was written in mind of those seeking to pursue a creative dream…
I believe it’s also applicable to the process of considering therapy.
The War of Art passage and contemplating therapy
When I was in the process of considering therapy I was terrified.
I stuffed it down and told myself I didn’t need therapy and I was fine without it, but I wasn’t.
And I was unconscious of the fear because it was a feeling I was familiar with and always ended in the same way.
Me, avoiding and running away from it instead of facing it head on in the therapy room with a therapist.
However, I now see exactly why therapy was needed for the ‘growth of my soul’.
And can honestly say, it is hands down the best decision I have ever made in my life.
As I have learnt so much about the unconscious parts of myself, which without the support of a therapist I would not have been able to do.
And now I’m able to take on activities I wouldn’t have previously taken on, like this blog with a little fear but not a paralysing fear.
3 strong fears that may arise when thinking about therapy
I hope you’re already feeling a little better about considering therapy and potentially committing to see a therapist.
But as promised, here are 3 strong fears, which may be stopping you and are okay for you to experience as long as you acknowledge they are not reasons for you to not see a therapist.
Fear #1 ~ Losing money
Whenever there’s any discussion of needing to give away our money the first question we ask is how much?
Because nobody in their right minds want’s to lose money.
And we’re brought up to falsely believe money is a scarce resource so there’s not enough to go around for everyone.
This too was a fear of mine, which resulted in me…
Even after growing up and having more resources to be able to make as much (or more) money than my parents…
i.e. through finding, getting and keeping a job(s)…
Still believing I didn’t have the money for what I wanted.
Because if you never challenge your beliefs they stay in the same place they were when you were growing up.
And they (and you) remain as small as the kid in the picture below so become the truth to what is really holding you back in life.
Not your family, friends, partner, other people in your life, your education background, age, gender etc.
Therefore, in hindsight, I can absolutely identify with the saying:
As I now realise the fear of losing money (along with the two other fears I will discuss) are ‘excuses’.
Simply because they are your fears disguising themselves into tangible forms, which you can understand to protect you from getting hurt.
Because even on a salary of 13k per year I was able to afford it.
Granted my expenditure costs were lower than most since I wasn’t renting, but I found a way.
And so can you.
Especially as the majority of therapists will take into account your circumstances and may be able to offer you a reduced rate.
And you have the resources like I do to find, get and keep a job(s) that will pay you a sufficient amount of money to be able to afford therapy.
So you really have no excuses.
The Robert Kiyosaki mindset
If still in doubt, do what Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad) says.
Ask ‘how can I afford it‘ rather than immediately assuming you can’t afford it and operating on what you always say to yourself.
In addition, don’t think about the cost, think about the value you’re going to get from seeing a therapist.
For me this was learning to let go of:
- bending myself to fit in and please other people
- holding on tightly to ideals and labels like working class, educational background, culture, age
- regrets, fears, doubts and insecurities
- a critical inner voice
Albeit, when I was considering therapy, I didn’t know (and definitely couldn’t predict) these were going to be the benefits.
It was only through engaging with therapy I was able to realise them.
Therefore, why it’s time for you to stop considering therapy and engage with it.
Because you wouldn’t be considering it if there wasn’t some element of truth to you needing therapy.
Fear #2 ~ I have nothing to say
If you resonate with this belief it’s likely a frequent belief you have about all social interactions you engage in.
And may lead to thoughts, such as:
- I can’t say this or that
- What will I have to say each week
- What if it becomes repetitive
- I’m not good at building and maintaining relationship how will I keep this going
Therefore, contributing to your fear, embarrassment and shame of what the therapist would think of you and your disclosures.
To assure you, however, the silence of the therapy room means you always have something to talk about because the silence brings it out of you.
And you’ll always discover even the smallest of disclosures is something your therapist will be able to expand on.
Therefore, making you feel understood, heard, known and seen, rather than judged and criticised.
Differently to how other people may make you feel.
And trust me when someone treats you differently to perhaps how the other people in your life treat you, you sit up and notice.
As you feel supported and as though it is a safe and acceptable environment for you to share every thought, feeling and situation you are going through.
Therefore, allowing you to enter sessions with the mindset…
I don’t know whether my disclosure is relevant or not, but I’m going to disclose it anyway, in case it is was worth raising.
As a result, allowing your therapist to confirm whether, what you’re thinking and feeling, is indeed worth raising.
And in all cases (without a shadow of a doubt), you will find what you’re thinking of raising is worth raising.
In the same way I did.
Related: 3 ways Psychotherapy can support you
Fear #3 ~ The limiting belief ‘something is wrong with you’
The last (but by absolutely no means least) fear you might have encountered as you contemplate getting therapy may be around believing there is ‘something wrong with you’.
I had this belief and in hindsight, realise it was because I judged, criticised and compared who I believed I was, to who I believed others to be.
And when who I believed I was and who I believed others to be, didn’t match up…
I came to the conclusion this meant there was something wrong with me.
Psychotherapy, however, with time (roughly two years and a half) supported me in recognising there was nothing wrong with me.
But because I ‘believed’ it to be true it became true in my words and actions.
Therefore, reinforcing the belief.
However, as you can probably tell, what was wrong, were the interpretations I made based on sheer observation.
Observations, which only looked at the actions of others not an understanding of their experiences.
Consequently, supporting me in realising my thoughts and beliefs were not true.
In summary, the three strong fears you need to ignore when considering therapy are…
The fear of losing money, what you’ll have to say each week and there’s something wrong with you.
As they are reflections of deeper fears within you.
In particular, the fear of the unknown/uncertainty and of needing to be vulnerable and open with someone in a way you’ve not done so before.
Now I would love to know from you in the comments section below are any of these three fears keeping you out of therapy? and will you do anything differently now?
- 3 qualities you need to make the most of your Psychotherapy sessions
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- 3 ways Psychotherapy can support you
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