Five Fears About Psychotherapy

  1. The therapist is going to make me talk about my whole life history. Some will. But most are very curious to know where you are now, and what brings you into their office at this particular moment. Of course, therapists are generally very interested to hear about the various forces that came to shape the person in front of them.
  2. Don’t therapists think that you want to sleep with your mother? Not so much any more. That was a working hypothesis in the early 20th century. Psychoanalysis has changed quite a bit since then. That’s a whole other topic.
  3. What if my therapist thinks I’m crazy. I can only speak for myself. I’ve seen a lot of people who were quite unhappy, even disturbed. What is crazy? Are you crazy if you are depressed? Anxious? Hearing voices? In each of these cases the person coming for help is suffering. I focus on alleviating that suffering.
  4. If I see a therapist it might destroy my relationship. Really? Sometimes couples come to therapy because one party is very ambivalent about the relationship. Sometimes they are just having difficulty communicating about a particular area. A good relationship will often be enhanced by couples therapy.
  5. Is what I say really confidential? I take confidentiality very seriously, as do the vast majority of therapists. If you are suicidal or homicidal all mental health professionals are mandated to get you help or make a report to the police and anyone else that might be in harm’s way. This is not the same as feeling hopeless or feeling tremendous ill-will toward someone. A good therapist will help you explore these feelings.

Kalea Chapman, Psy.D.


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Clinical Psychologist practicing in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

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