Psychologist London

Three Powerful Myths About Psychotherapy

Written by

Emely Ostberg, Msc Counsl. Psych.
Private Psychologist in London

Myth 1. “You’re only allowed to go to therapy if something absolutely horrible has happened to you.”

Starting psychotherapy can be a nerve-wrecking experience. Typically the first session, for most, involves a threat system take-over and the creation of narratives around the words ‘ what if‘;  ‘what if my problem isn’t big enough‘, ‘what if she laughs at me‘, ‘what if they won’t like me‘, ‘what if they think I’m wasting their time’. Contrary to the popular belief people rarely seek therapy because of an ongoing crises or childhood trauma, although of course, that exist too. Most come through the doors because they feel stuck, others because they can’t switch off,  and some because they can’t find meaning or fulfilment.

Myth 2. “Therapy is just rich peoples indulgence, yet another place they can surrounded themselves by yes-people”

It is not an indulgent experience. On the contrary actually! Therapy is rarely comfortable. It takes an enormous amount of courage to turn towards our own suffering and look it straight in the eye, rather than engaging in temporarily numbing coping mechanisms such as suppressing our own emotions, or avoiding feeling altogether through numbing out on our phones/alcohol/sex/sleep/food/over-socialising/over-working/over-exercising. Through the act of courage and turning towards, (rather ignore), most people find that they are better able to tell what matters to them and find themselves more attuned to their intuitive wisdom and if they dare to trust it, feel a deeper sense of meaning, connection and joy.


Myth 3. “It’s just about blaming your parents for everything, and my parents were good parents”

Therapy does involve looking at the past and connecting dots, but it is not about shifting blame. The way humans tend to relate to others, with all their the subconscious rules and assumptions that we hold about the world are in often neuronal networks laid out and created in childhood.

These networks were created in order for us to survive and thrive in the world we lived in and were very adaptable then. However, sometimes, these old ways of coping are no longer useful, in fact, they may have loads of unintended consequences.

Let me give you an example; imagine having an internal rule of “I must never ask for help, because if I do, people will laugh at me”. Imagine having had that as a rule all your life, – you may have developed a core belief that led to hyper-independence and you may have never learned what other peoples responses, to you asking for help, actually are. So the rule remains unchallenged. The unintended consequences can be vast when we (subconsciously) live in-line with such an assumption, and life have probably been quite a lot harder than it had to.  Perhaps there’s been a deep sense of loneliness, perhaps there’s been burn-out and fatigue. Therapy helps to join up dots and leave you with a wider range of choice as to how you wish to live your life, and is not about blaming caregivers, but rather set you free from patterns that are no longer serving you.  


Posted by

Emely Ostberg, MSc (Counsl. Psych.)
Psychologist and accred. Psychotherapist BABCP & BPsS in Private Practice.

I am private psychologist working out of my office in the City of London, at 7 Bell Yard, just off Fleet Street. I specialise in anxiety disorders, adjustment issues and high shame prone individuals. Book your initial consultation today.

Phone. +44 77 2219 4506

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