Shifts In Public Perception of the Therapeutic Process

Counseling is more common than most people think.

In the past, feelings of embarrassment and shame were associated with going to therapy.

In recent times, there has been a shift in the perception of the therapeutic process and therapy has become more widely accepted across all ages and socioeconomic groups.

There are several factors that have contributed to this shift.

Popular culture, increased awareness, and accessibility to mental health professionals are some of the factors that have helped break down any negative perception associated with therapy.

In popular culture, television shows, public figures, and artists have been candid about their personal issues and their experience with therapy.

On television, a more authentic representation of the therapeutic process has been represented and has had lasting effects on viewers. Mariel Buque of Psychology Today has found that viewers have a chance to be a fly on the wall as they watch a character on their favorite in therapy. Ms. Buque indicates that this process alleviates some anxiety about therapy and may correct any misconceptions about the process. With some familiarity provided by television, people have been more open to therapy.

Public figures and artists use their experiences to drive their work and foster a relationship with their community or fan base.

Sharing experiences with the public and providing a more clear account of the therapeutic process has spread awareness on a larger scale. Individuals, families, schools, and the workplace have taken notice and help provide quicker and confidential access to quality mental health professionals.

Ms. Buque referred to this shift as the “normalization of therapy” and praised those speaking publicly about their experiences.

Because of this normalization, people are engaging in therapy at a much younger age.

In the past, therapy was viewed as a “last resort” but now, parents are more likely to bring their children to therapy before crisis.

What is happening is that at a younger age, children and adolescents are becoming more mindful of their feelings and are developing a better understanding of themselves.

This translates into better adjustment at various milestones early in life (puberty, high school, college etc.) and, I would anticipate, also leads to better life satisfaction in adulthood.

Steven Cenname of the Pro Bono Counseling Project wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times.

Mr. Canname shared data supporting the involvement of youth in therapy BEFORE a crisis.

Not all youths require weekly therapy but the familiarity with the therapeutic process and the need for “check ins” with a mental health professional can help individuals and families avoid significant problems in the future.

In 2017, therapy is very common.

Individuals and families from all walks of life are in or have experienced the benefits of psychotherapy.

If you are still on the fence about therapy, please consider attending one of our support/educational groups.

Or if you’d like to go ahead and begin the process of counseling, please contact us and one of our clinicians can speak with you further.