You can call it avoidance or reluctance, or even stubbornness in some cases, but there are millions of people who could benefit from therapy but refuse to get help with overcoming reluctance and seeking therapy. One of the reasons people avoid therapy is because they have an actual fear of emotion and that has led to a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).1 It is a cycle that describes many emotional issues. The more you abuse substances, the more substances you abuse. The more you avoid emotion, the more anxiety you feel. The longer you avoid dealing with a pattern of establishing dysfunctional relationships, the more of them you encounter. The longer you allow depression to continue without intervention, the deeper your depression becomes.
It can be difficult to make changes in your life that will require confronting painful emotions. However, if you procrastinate, avoid getting help or tell yourself that “things will get better” despite the evidence, they will not improve and you will experience emotional distress, poor relationships, a general lack of satisfaction with life and perhaps a dependency on drugs and/or alcohol. Psychotherapy offers a way out of the cycle without the aid drugs and/or alcohol. When you commit to treatment, you establish a professional relationship with a counselor who has experience working with people facing a myriad of life issues from health issues like diabetes to emotional issues like divorce.
Research suggests that there are numerous benefits to counseling, including phone counseling. For example, recently people with diabetes who also experienced depression were given phone counseling support. The counseled group was compared to a control group that was only given a pamphlet. At the end of 12 months, 58 percent of the phone counseled group no longer suffered from depression, while only 39 percent of the control group could make that claim. There was even more good news. After a year of phone counseling, clients exercised more and experience a decline in their blood pressure.2
Emotional and mental issues can also be relieved through therapy whether it’s face-to-face, cyber-counseling or phone therapy. In one recent study, patients suffering depression were given phone-based cognitive-behavioral therapy. The phone therapy included psychotherapy and care management. The results showed that patients who received structured psychotherapy experienced 46 additional depression-free days than those who did not receive this type of treatment.3
The Myths of Life: Overcoming Reluctance Now
It’s a fact that many of us grow up learning to avoid emotions or maintaining myths. Those myths come back to haunt us in life. For example, some families pretend they are “happy” when in reality their home life actually consists of constant arguing that is emotionally harmful to its members. You may be a “secret” alcoholic and deny any assertions that you have a problem. You may have anger issues, but blame everyone else for making you angry. You may go from one dysfunctional relationship to another, but blame your inability to maintain a healthy relationship on other people. Do you allow yourself to be manipulated? Are you unhappy most of the time? Do you experience frequent anxiety?
These are the types of life issues people are trying to deal with on their own with no success. In some cases, just talking to a professional counselor provides the direction that you need to make a positive change in your life. In other cases, like depression or grief, multiple therapy sessions are needed.
Fearing change can lead to an unfulfilled life. It’s important to overcome the reluctance so that you can get the therapy you need to move on with your life.
Reasons Why Some People Avoid or Delay Seeking Therapy
- You are forced to confront painful and/or hidden emotions.
- Talking to a stranger about your personal problems is embarrassing.
- You are too humiliated by your issues to share them with anyone.
- Admitting that you really do have a problem means that you will have to change your behaviors, feelings and/or beliefs.
- Changing is simply too difficult and requires too much effort.
- You are not emotionally strong enough to successfully complete therapy.
- You are not “good enough” to deserve treatment (indicating self-esteem issues or depression).
- You will be seen as weak by your friends and family.
Finding Balance the Right Way in Overcoming Reluctance
Humans gravitate towards patterns of behavior. This principle is called homeostasis and it can lead to resistance to change. In fact, the interplay of the mind and body contributes to homeostasis, which is why holistic therapy concentrates on the whole person and not just the emotional aspects of life issues. Holistic therapists work on two levels: 1) rapid emotional distress resolution 2) ongoing non-judgmental and supportive counseling.5 It may seem easier to “go with the flow,” even when the” flow” is making you unhappy, rather than seeing a therapist, but the truth is that it is not easier when you are struggling emotionally, physically and spiritually on a day-to-day basis.
The first step in overcoming reluctanceis to see a therapist. It is important that you first analyze your feelings and how you see yourself now and how you want to see yourself in the future. Everyone deserves to live life to the fullest and that includes you. Fortunately, today it’s easy to get the confidential help you need by phone or on the internet. You don’t have to fear a face-to-face session with a professional because you can simply call or email one and get the help you need from the comfort of your home.
An experienced therapist can help you make positive changes in your life so that you can really start to your life. Instead of going with the “flow,” direct the “flow” in the direction that you want your life to follow. It’s so much more satisfying.
1 Moretz, M. W., Bunmi O. O. & Zlomke, K. (2010). Linking cognitive avoidance and GAD symptoms: The mediating role of fear of emtion. Behaviour Research and Therapy.
2 Diabetes Forecast. (2011). Therapy by phone. Diabetes Forecast.
3 PharmacoEconomics and Outcomes News. (2009). Telephone psychotherapy benefits depressed patients. PharmacoEconomics and Outcomes News.
4 Teyber, E. & Mcclure, F. H. (2010). Interpersonal Process in Therapy: An Integrative Model, 6th Edition. California: Brooks/Cole.
5Corrigan, F.M. . (2004). Psychotherapy as assisted homestasis: activation of emotional processing mediated by the anterior cingulate cortex. Medical Hypotheses,, 63 (6), 968+.
The content provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Our content is not medical advice you should seek a licensed physician or health professional regarding all health issues. DISORDERS.ORG takes no responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, or application of medication which results from reading this site.