Working with a therapist is something that has been heavily represented in popular culture. For that reason, therapy is often the subject of misconceptions. Especially if you're not sure whether meeting with a therapist might be right for you, it can be helpful to get a handle on what the process is and isn't.
Not Always Talking About Your Feelings
Through working in the profession, therapists have learned that different situations frequently call for different approaches. While talk sessions make for great narrative devices in fiction, there are a variety of credible reasons why the direct discussion of feelings may not be ideal. For example, traumatized children are often encouraged to work with professionals who use play as a means of working through problems. By watching how a kid plays, a counselor may be able to determine what their concerns are, how they see certain power dynamics and whether anything disturbing is going on in the child's life.
Similar approaches are available to adults. For example, equine therapies are focused on sessions where patients groom animals. There are also experiential therapies that involve outdoor activities, creating art, or exercising. And yes, if you firmly believe you need to talk to someone, talk sessions are available, too.
Give Them a Pill
The role of pharmacology in mental health is not without controversy. Particularly in the aftermath of the opioid crisis, practitioners are sensitive to the concerns of patients who are worried about addiction risks. Therapists will work with patients who are worried about being put on pills.
With that in mind, though, it's wise to not fully rule out pharmacology as part of a treatment regimen. If you do have addiction concerns, the important thing is to be upfront about why you're worried and what your situation is. You should include your general practitioner and any drug counselors you may be working with in the conversation before moving forward. Remember, you always have the right to say no and to seek counseling elsewhere.
Not a Cure-All
Therapists don't cure patients. The goal of counseling isn't to fix a human being, and many modern practitioners would consider that a goal that's neither possible nor desirable.
"What is the goal of therapy, then?" you might ask. The goal is to provide you with a toolkit that enables you to lead your life. This includes skills that allow you to recognize stressors, cope with difficult situations and ready yourself for each day.
For more information on therapy, contact a resource in your area like Hope Therapy Center.