“But Therapy Doesn’t Work!”
Have you ever met someone who doesn’t believe in therapy?
If you’re a mental health care professional, it may seem unbelievable that someone could feel that way in this day and age, but there are a variety of backgrounds and belief systems that prejudice people’s view of therapy.
If you’ve encountered an acquaintance, family member, or even a patient who doesn’t believe therapy works, it may have felt disconcerting or, at the very least, unexpected.
How did you react? Defensively? With incredulity? Next time, try empathy.
Empathy Starts With Understanding
By approaching skeptics with empathy, we can gain their trust and maybe even change their minds. As you know, empathy starts with understanding so as a mental health professional, understanding why so many people distrust therapy is key.
For many people, a disbelief in or distrust of therapy is something that’s been ingrained in their family for generations. Some people report that when bringing up feelings of depression or anxiety as children or teens, they were met with phrases like “You’re just a teenager” or “This is just a phrase that you’ll grow out of” from their parents. Some people are even taught that therapy isn’t “real,” doesn’t work, or is only for people who are “crazy.”
For some, this doesn’t keep them from realizing that mental health is important, and they may go on to pursue therapy in adulthood. For others, a familial distrust or misunderstanding of therapy may continue with them.
A skepticism of therapy might be because they tried therapy and it “didn’t work” for them. Usually, it’s because they didn’t keep at it long enough, they couldn’t find the right therapist, or they thought that therapy would solve all of their problems and were disappointed, frustrated and even angry when that didn’t happen.
For others, therapy is a last resort. Someone experiencing depression might delay getting treatment for months or even for years. This could be because they think that therapy doesn’t work, isn’t for them, or simply because they’re too depressed to go through the steps required to set up an appointment and get started.
Dr. Joel L. Young, the Medical Director of the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine, says that the disappointment some people feel when therapy doesn’t help right away is because “therapy patients often view therapy as a panacea—and one which they’ll only try when life gets impossible.”
There are plenty of reasons someone might distrust therapy and it’s really understandable. By figuring out why they feel that way, showing that you understand where they’re coming from and that you care, you can begin to gain their trust.
You’re the Expert!
The second part of gaining a skeptic’s trust is in the way you approach them. This holds true whether you’re talking to someone in person or through your blog or social media.
Approaching with not only empathy, but authority, is key.
If therapy hasn’t worked for them, maybe you know why. After all, you’re the expert!
Maybe they haven’t been at it long enough. Maybe they haven’t found the right therapist, or the right type of therapy.
Let them know there could be many reasons behind it.
Some people think that therapy is just talking out problems–and that they can just do that with a friend. But we know that therapy is so much more.
Unlike a friend, a therapist can help a client to uncover and change behavioral patterns, and work with them to resolve complex issues and implement ways to improve their mental health and, ultimately, their quality of life.
It’s also important that you educate your audience on what therapy will do for them and what therapy won’t do for them.
Some people expect therapy to solve all of their problems and to give them the perfect life they’ve always dreamed of.
This isn’t the case, but it can greatly improve quality of life! And, for some people, it really is life-changing. It just requires a little work, and a little patience.
How to Use Content Marketing to Educate Your Community on Mental Health Care
Content marketing plays a big role in your practice.
Building your authority as an expert in your field is an essential part of your digital marketing plan. And, you can use that authority to combat misinformation and misunderstanding.
Your social media, blog, and your other platforms give you the ability to connect with people who need your advice.
If someone finds your blog, it’s probably because you can answer a question they had!
So take this opportunity to give them the information they’re looking for, reassure them, and to establish yourself as an authority on mental health.
By practicing empathy, giving information, and creating authority, you can reach out to those who don’t believe in the power of therapy–and maybe even change their minds.
Creating a digital marketing plan that includes a comprehensive content plan to reach your audience where they need you the most is important, but an element of running a business that most clinicians overlook. What about you…have you thought about your digital marketing? It can be very overwhelming to get started. There are so many options and honestly, you are a therapist, not a business person.
Do you have someone in your corner to help you navigate all things digital?
We specialize in therapy practices and getting more clients in your door. See what we can do for you with a free planning session.