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Understanding Why People Avoid Therapy

Exploring Reasons Why Individuals Shy Away from Therapy

Post COVID a growth has taken place in the mental health space. People are feeling empowered and comfortable in seeking counseling and openly talking about their mental health.

According to the American Psychological Association, 45% of adults ages 35 to 44 experienced an increase in mental health diagnoses in 2023. This percentage increased from 2019, which was noted as 31%. The same reading, found here, also discussed how 67% of adults downplayed stress in their lives. This is an important statistic as it shows how we may experience stress and not place the importance that is needed on it.

I encourage you to consider your physical health. If you were to fall and notice that your knee aches with pain every time you walk on it. Would you downplay it and wait until it worsens to the degree of needing surgery? I hope not. As such, I strongly encourage you to engage in self-awareness and preventative care. Watch the video below as a helpful tool for confronting discomfort and stress in life.

Stress should not be something that is downplayed. According to the APA, long-term stress can put your body on high alert. When your body is on high alert the following can take place:

  • Inflammation.
  • Increase risk to ailments.
  • Potential digestive issues.
  • Heart disease.
  • Weight gain.
  • Stroke.

Demystifying Therapy Avoidance

Despite the growing response to the importance of mental health, people continue to experience a challenge in seeking mental health. The challenge can be felt as an internal hesitancy or resistance to seeking professional support from a mental health counselor.

You may experience resistance to mental health counseling due to a number of reasons. Some can be internal, such as a childhood experience or even a personal moment where you sought support and things did not go in the right way. Others can experience resistance to seeking counseling due to external factors like social stigma or financial barriers. Key reasons that people do not seek mental health counseling include social stigma, misconceptions about mental health, financial issues, and personal barriers.

Probing Reasons Behind Therapy Avoidance

1. Social Stigma About Mental Health

Mental health stigma can be loud and often difficult to avoid. Within social stigma are cultural barriers that can impact your decision to seek counseling. This can include cultural beliefs or social opinions that if not followed come with a certain unwanted consequence.

At Santos Counseling, our goal is to create a space and constructive space for you. A therapeutic setting where your cultural background is valued and respected. The social stigma surrounding mental health is a formidable barrier. Societal norms often influence that seeking therapy is a sign of weakness or that something is wrong with you or the life that you have. This deeply ingrained view can lead individuals to conceal their struggles, fearing judgment or ostracization.

2. Common Misconceptions About Counseling

Another challenge that people experience when seeking therapy is the misconceptions of counseling. At times people do not seek counseling because they view counseling as a mental health service for people with severe difficulties or for people who are on the brink of a catastrophic issue. Such as only seeking counseling when you are at the brink of a divorce. The misconceptions surrounding therapy can lead people to wait for years before seeking help.

Our counseling practice encourages you to know that you do not have to wait until a worst-case scenario to seek counseling. You can seek counseling when things are going great or when you notice that something is not going well. Our counselors aim to empower you to hold autonomy in deciding when working with a counselor is appropriate. If you feel stuck with this decision, please contact us. Our counseling office utilizes evidence-based assessments that can provide you with feedback on your symptoms that would benefit from further mental health counseling.

3. Common Financial Barriers To Mental Health

The National Alliance on Mental Health listed finances among the barriers impacting individuals to seeking mental health care. For many, the cost of therapy presents a substantial obstacle. Despite the growing recognition of mental health’s importance, financial constraints can limit accessibility. Addressing these economic barriers is crucial for fostering a more inclusive and accessible mental health support system.

4. Individual Challenges To Seeking Counseling

What are personal hurdles that may impact you from seeking counseling?

Personal hurdles are individual factors that can pose a challenge for people when seeking counseling. Common personal hurdles that can cause people to struggle with seeking counseling include fear of vulnerability, lack of awareness about available resources that they have access to, and cultural influences that can contribute to personal barriers.

Santos Counseling PLLC holds a clear understanding of vulnerability in the counseling space. This means that our counselors provide you with a safe space based on your level of readiness.

5. Inconsistent Support

Communities Your social circle can play a role in whether you seek or do not seek counseling. This is an interesting area, as one of the key areas of focus in mental health treatment is supporting clients to create and sustain a healthy and supportive social system. Your social system makes up your community. These are the people around you that encourage you to grow, heal, and be your best self.  

People who lack a healthy and constructive community may experience a hard time getting into counseling. This can be due to having peers that give them negative messages about counseling. Such as that working with a counselor means something is wrong with them or that they are broken in some way. Others may experience difficulty in working with a counselor connected to transportation.

Counseling Committed To Healing

Understanding why you avoid working with a counselor is vital. This reading focused on a few key areas that often create resistance for people seeking mental health counseling. Please contact Santos Counseling, we are a counseling practice dedicated to effective evidence-based treatment and accessible mental health care. Click here to learn more about the counselors at Santos Counseling and click here to view the fees for therapy and insurance that we are in-network with.

Santos Counseling Is an outpatient counseling practice committed to empowering people to maximize their strengths toward achieving personal goals through culturally appropriate services. The practice fosters equality, diversity, safety, and innovation.

To assist individuals in overcoming obstacles, our practice provides a discounted student rate for college students seeking counseling. Our extensive library of articles serves as a valuable resource akin to self-help books. Counseling services are available in both English and Spanish. For those unable to visit our Greensboro office, therapy can be customized to accommodate remote sessions.

If you’re facing mental health challenges, reach out to our counseling practice. Whether scheduled with one of our counselors at Santos Counseling PLLC or guided to a more suitable community resource, we are committed to supporting you. You’re not alone—we are here for you.