‘Painfully oblivious’ is what can be used to describe people who won’t consider visiting a psychologist under any cause. Superstitious and folklore beliefs aside, there truly exists a majority who would not want to consider that they are under any form of psychological pressure. This mentality could arise from any of the following reasons:
Lack of insight on psychological health
It all starts with the much-abused thought, “There is always medicine I can take to feel better.” This comes from the practice of treating psychological pain on par with physical pain, which most often is treated with over-the-counter medicine. When medicines don’t seem to help, the thought changes to, “My problems are not so serious; if I wait, this would eventually go away” Sometimes, the avoidance may also stem from the influence of peers and family – “I have to manage my own problems is what everybody says.” The lack of insight on psychological health and the refusal to accept the existence of the problem becomes major reasons to avoid visiting a psychologist. People are more likely to write off their issues as being caused by work-related stress or fatigue.
Overthinking and excuses
Even the folks who know the importance of mental health may find reasons to put off visits to a counsellor. They try to make excuses like, “Going to the counsellor is itself stressful.” This arises from overthinking that one has to make time, plan the visit, beat the traffic etc. People even overwhelm themselves with thoughts like, “Everyone will think I am mad,” “People around me will make fun of me” and “It is my problem; I have to solve it my way,” and avoid visits to a psychologist.
Doubts about the system and self
Trust issues become another barrier. Thoughts like, “I don't want anyone to know about my weaknesses,” “I can’t share things about my family or personal life with strangers,” and, “The counsellor will share my story with other people; my privacy would be compromised,” do come up in one’s head.
Questions about the professional’s ability are also used to avoid appointments stating, “How can a counsellor understand and help solve my problems in 45-60 minute when my friends and family who have known me for longer can’t understand?” The self-doubt factor – what to say in a therapy session, how to start, and where to start – can also lead to avoidance of counselling sessions.
Overcoming the barriers
People from all types of social circles must be made to understand the importance of mental health. They should be encouraged to seek help and to not let their problems worsen due to social or familial standings.
How do you convince someone the importance of mental health treatments? What can be done to normalise psychological counselling? Share your thoughts and experiences below.