It’s not uncommon to have a mental illness. From the ongoing pandemic to other personal challenges, Happy Valley has hit some road bumps when it comes to mental wellness.

   Kristina Holley, clinical director of Aspen Counseling Services, knows the difficulties of trusting a “stranger” with feelings and thoughts in a counseling setting. However, she firmly believes in the motto, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you,” and says “even if you feel ‘fine’ at the moment but are prone to low moods, therapy can help.”

   Here, Kristina debunks the three biggest misconceptions of therapy.

Myth #1 “If I go to counseling that means something is wrong with me.” Nothing is wrong with you! People come to therapy for a number of reasons. Some simply need someone who will listen and give an objective answer to their concerns. Others want help learning how to deal with day-to-day life issues such as stress, parenting, family conflicts, communication and relationships. Others need help learning and implementing coping skills to deal with depression, anxiety, abuse, trauma, loss, addiction, grief, isolation etc. Just like you would go to a surgeon for a broken bone or a doctor for the flu, a therapist is there to help you heal. 

Myth #2 “If I see a therapist, I am not strong enough to do this on my own.”

This is especially prevalent with males and couldn’t be further from the truth. Being responsible for and taking charge of mental health is a sign of strength. Seeing a therapist helps you become the best version of yourself — aka the opposite of weakness.

Myth #3 “This is just a phase my child will grow out of.” This may be true in some instances, but just as you would take your children or teenagers in for a checkup to make sure they’re healthy and on the right track for growth, it’s important for children and teenagers to see a therapist if they are struggling. We are seeing more depression, anxiety and isolation in this younger population, especially with the changes in schedules, loss of activities and connections due to Covid. Therapy can be extremely helpful to have an outlet to talk about concerns and frustrations. With teens, especially,  it is important for them to have a therapist they connect with. Let them choose who they want to see. This gives them some control in the therapeutic process, which helps ease anxiety or concerns. You know your children better than anyone. If you feel your son or daughter is struggling, schedule a session. Therapy is never the wrong choice.

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