The conversation around getting therapy is flawed


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Telling someone to “get therapy” might not be the right thing to help with their potential mental health problems.

In recent years, the push toward accepting mental health as a legitimate concern has done a lot of good for society. However, there still seems to be a blind spot in the current dialogue when it comes to mental health. 

If you haven’t parsed what I’m talking about, it’s the sentiment, “you should just get therapy, man.” 

Rarely is this sentiment said out of disrespect or anger but as a way to offer the easiest solution. I’ve even used the response on people before I learned the hard way by having the exact same thing told to me. It essentially just feels like being told that they don’t feel like listening. 

The first problem with saying something along the lines “just get therapy” is that it obscures the reality of actually accessing therapy services.

“I think when people try to help they end up being dismissive; that can really hurt someone’s perception of mental health,” said NIU counselor Leslie Albion.

Therapy is a very expensive service with the average price per hour depending on where you live. Illinois has the lowest medicare to medicaid fees and therapy costs looming high enough as it is, there needs to be more effort to understand people that can’t access therapy.

“I’d like to get therapy, but I find it way too expensive for what my health insurance covers,” said Pierce Zinsky, a junior English major.

Therapy, while being a thing that some people may honestly want to do, isn’t a financial reality for a good portion of people.

Therapists cannot always relate to their patients in a way that allows them to help patients properly. We often see this phenomenon when it comes to people of color. 

“I tried therapy one time with a white lady,” junior engineering major Jose Fernandez said. “When I explained my problems, she responded in a way that made me feel invalidated.” 

With all that said, I’m not saying people shouldn’t go to therapy. Instead of immediately pushing someone toward therapy, try to listen to them first and show that you support them. Maybe, just maybe, they might actually seek it out for themselves.