Overcoming the Stigma of Counseling

By Dr. Melissa Estavillo

It has been decades since the theories of Sigmund Freud dominated the field of psychology, since someone was committed to the “insane asylum,” or since the practice of lobotomies for schizophrenia, mania, and major depression. And yet, many of us still worry that going to a psychologist will make us feel like Jack Nicolson in One Few Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

The last thing we want to do is seem crazy.

And I get it. Who would want to sign up for something like that!

While society’s perception of psychology may be a bit slow to catch on, the field has changed by leaps and bounds. This is an exciting time for psychology that is dominated by research of love, happiness, contentment, motivation, and becoming the person you were always meant to be. Theses new theories and focuses help everyday people overcome the common distress, frustration, and hurt that plagues our lives.

When we are in distress, the last thing we want to do is seek help that will make us feel more broken, damaged, or insane. But, here’s the good news, that’s not what we do! There is always good reason for why we are going through the distress that we are experiencing. Our job is to help you discover this reason and find more successful, sustainable, and healthy solutions than the ones you’ve been previously using. Now that doesn’t sound so bad right?

So here’s your homework:

Instead of focusing on how broken you feel or how embarrassing it could be to tell your psychologist your story, picture how feeing it could feel to become the best version of yourself.

I’m not going to lie, therapy can be hard work, it can be uncomfortable at times, and may stretch you to do things that you never knew you could do. But the challenges are alway met with support, compassion, and someone who will believe in you more than you believe in yourself.