It is usually helpful to dispel a number of myths that people have about therapy:
1. Therapy is not necessarily a long, drawn-out process. For example, at our Institute, the typical client is in therapy for only 10 to 12 sessions.
2. The involvement of whole families in the treatment process serves to expedite change because each family member can contribute his or her unique perspective and understanding of the problem(s). The family often holds resources and influence essential to the treatment process of its members.
3. Family involvement in therapy does not imply blame of anyone. People are really trying to do the best they can but get inadvertently stuck in patterns of interaction that lead to the development of symptoms in one or more family members. The best strategy is to elicit the family’s strengths and resources and to unleash hidden potentials that are somehow blocked.
4. Family therapy does not necessarily imply involvement of all family members in all sessions. The most important time for full family involvement is in the initial evaluation process.
5. A good way to consider counseling help for the first time is to view it as an experiment and simply make a commitment for a trial first session. Meet your therapist, see how we work, get some feedback and hear how they might be of service. After a reasonable length of time, evaluate with your therapist whether or not the approach is effective.
6. The best time to seek help in therapy is before small problems become bigger ones. People often underestimate the seriousness of their situation and wait until crises occur. We encourage families to get “check-ups” for preventative mental health, especially if they have a question or discomfort about how someone in the family is doing.
7. Therapy need not be an admission of failure, but rather an acceptance of how people can be effectively interdependent. No one can be a master of all trades – plumbing, law, mechanics, counseling, medicine, etc., so it doesn’t make sense that seeking help for personal or family problems is something to be ashamed of!