Why do People Avoid Therapy?

Despite mental and behavioral health counseling becoming more mainstream in modern society, an unfortunate number of Americans continue to shy away from getting the help they need. Why do people avoid therapy? Or should the question be; why do you avoid therapy? Some of the reasons are steeped in misconceptions that can be cleared up with ease, while others reflect deeper issues that can also be dismissed in the recognition of them. Please keep reading.

8 Reasons Why a Proportion of Misguided Americans Avoid Counseling and Therapy

Cultural Attitudes

For decades, film and television had done a bang up job (note the sarcasm) of positioning therapy as something for high-falutin housewives to do between pilates and cocktails at the tennis club. While that perception has changed significantly, there remains to be cultural attitudes that create barriers to entry for therapy. Research shows that despite recent evidence of more favorable perception regarding treatment effectiveness, certain racial/ethnic groups are less likely than Caucasians to admit to using mental health services. One study found that among Black Americans who were already mental health patients, over 33% felt that mild depression or anxiety would be considered “crazy” in their social circles.

Don’t let the opinions of others prevent you from seeking help, no matter how ingrained these opinions may be in your community. If you desire to keep the fact that you’re in counseling under wraps, do so, as it’s better than not attending counseling. However, there’s a good chance that others in your circle are struggling with the same concern over what their social circles may think. By opening up to them about your beneficial experience with therapy, they may not only be supportive, they may seek the help they need too. You could be their inspiration! And what if you’re chastised by some after opening up? Individuals who do so aren’t ready to be a positive force in your life, and should be ignored until they are ready to evolve. Thankfully they are steadily becoming the minority among racial/ethnic groups in America.

Language Barriers

Some cultural barriers are connected to concerns about literal communication. The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that 50% of Hispanics (compared to 30% of Caucasians) who seek out a psychologist drop-out of after their first session. The report notes that many Hispanics quit because they do not feel understood due to direct or nuanced differences in language.

If this concern applies to you, please note that there are a large number of high-qualified therapists available either in your city (especially for major metropolises) or at the very least online. Perform an online search for “[enter language] speaking mental health therapist near me” which will unveil a number of dedicated resources.

Gender Attitudes

A large body of research has found that compared with women, men are traditionally less likely to seek help for mental health concerns, and have been more likely to stigmatize mental health problems, Furthermore, they are less likely to endorse counseling and therapy, which creates a vicious cycle of therapy avoidance amongst the gender. More concerning, is that some of this attitude has carried over from adolescence, with research uncovering that adolescent boys have more negative attitudes about seeing mental health professionals than adolescent girls do. While recent shifts in cultural norms and attitudes about gender are gradually breaking down this barrier, America isn’t where it needs to be quite yet.

Men that remain on the fence about therapy may consider how they feel about the gender of a therapist, and exercise choice instead of avoiding counseling. While Counseling Psychology Quarterly reports that 60% of individuals have no preference as to their therapist’s gender, 40% do. The same study reported that men who saw a therapist of their preferred gender tended to report better outcomes than those who didn’t. You have options when it comes to finding a therapist. You may be limited in selection when it comes to your city or town (more on this below) but this is not an issue when using online services. Find a counselor that suits your preference and stop avoiding therapy.

Vocational Attitudes

Corporate and organizational culture can also exert a negative influence on attitudes and cause people to avoid therapy. Although, these are often rooted in some the same influences above. For instance, athletic leagues and organizations that have a disproportionately high count of non-Caucasians could carry cultural beliefs about therapy into their respective leagues and organizations.

However, this is rapidly changing as we speak. Two professional vocations that exhibit non-Caucasian racial/ethnic disproportion and simultaneously carry a history of machismo – professional athletics and the military – are experiencing a wave of change. Kindbridge Behavioral Health has been working closely with athletic organizations and members of the U.S. military to provide holistic mental health support. In successfully doing so, the stigma that once deeply persisted in their organizational culture is falling to the wayside.

Geographic Barriers

Americans who live in certain towns, cities, and states have limited geographic access to mental health support services. For instance, in Mississippi, an unfathomable 80% of all residents live in a community that does not have adequate access to mental health professionals.

Thankfully, geographic access needn’t be a barrier for anyone with a laptop or smartphone (everyone). Kindbridge Behavioral Health provides Americans with powerful mental health support services from a safe and welcoming online environment.

Fear of the Unknown

A lot of people avoid therapy because they don’t know what to expect. What will the first session be like? What kind of questions will be asked? What is an online session like compared to in-person counseling? Don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from experiencing the benefits of therapy.

Kindbridge has prepared a series of videos to provide insight into what therapy is like. While specific to our athlete support services, the video below applies to anyone who is avoiding therapy because they are unsure about what they are signing up for:

YouTube video

Misconceptions About Effectiveness

Research consistently shows that therapy is effective. However, some people continue to avoid therapy because they don’t think it will be successful for them. If this belief has kept you from seeking help, return to our video series for testimonials. Further, take note that the stigma has fallen down around cultures that once eschewed therapy. If elite athletes have opened up about the power of mental health support, imagine what it can do for you.

Misconceptions About Cost

Many Americans assume that they can’t afford therapy. This is also a root of what causes some racial/ethic groups in America to avoid it in the first place. Traditionally, this has been a very valid concern, and it does remain so for the impoverished. However, the proliferation of virtual therapy has removed the barrier for a significant number of people.

Reference Kindbridge’s online platform as an example of how affordable counseling can be. A significant portion (60 to 80% in some cases) of the cost of behavioral health disorder treatment can be reimbursed under a variety of insurance plans. If you are a member of any of the following, you may qualify for partial coverage for treatment:

  • AETNA Managed Health Care
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • CIGNA Managed Health Care
  • OPTUM Health Services

In addition, there are virtual therapy pricing plans, packages, and subscriptions to accommodate a variety of budgets. Prices start as low as just $75 for a group therapy session and $195 for single session counseling, with packages and subscriptions reducing the per session rates.

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