In recent years, interest in psychological well-being is progressively increasing. Along with the spread of social networks and more and more rapid media communication, common people are getting closer to psychological issues, some with interest and curiosity, others with hostility and skepticism.
An aspect shared by all users is a kind of fear to the psychologist. Fear and distrust often lead to thinking of psychologists with suspicion: the lack of confidence in this professional figure is a symptom of the fact that, in fact, one does not know what the psychologist does, or rather, what he does With the psychologist. I say “with the psychologist” because our profession is based on the relationship, dialogue, sharing, and co-construction. It is a profession that employs tools such as empathy, understanding and listening … all of the features that, in today’s society, are too often put in a corner.
Unfortunately, there are still some stereotypes in our society that catalog psychologists as “shrink”, “manipulators”, “charlatans”. Often, even those who decide to turn to a psychologist take this decision after lengthy and exhausting reflections, often characterized by feelings of anger, frustration, and shame. How does this happen?
This short article aims to dispel some prejudices and to illustrate what a supportive path is.
Why are we afraid of the psychologist?
The fear of the psychologist, in fact, hides many other fears that each of us has experienced in our lives. Yes, because fear is a common emotion, often even functional. Fear is the engine that activates our nervous system to defend ourselves or to defend our loved ones, fear motivates us to do better and better, makes us understand that we must be in the face of a danger we do not know how to deal with.
Sometimes, however, fear may become severely dysfunctional: because it takes too much intensity, which blurs the subject’s lucidity and every other emotion; or because it is used as a way of escape itself, unconsciously back to a series of illogical or incorrect beliefs, allowing us not to address the real problems that afflict us.
If we add to the cauldron the suspicion of a word-based pathway and the widespread belief that if anyone wants to solve their own difficulties, here is the temptation to face any problem alone; Here are thoughts like “Just talk to a friend,” “How does a stranger help me if he does not know me?” “I’m done, I can not change.” “I’ve always done it alone and it will be so this time “and many more.
The key is to understand when a friend’s help is no longer enough when a person who does not know us can help us because he has a more objective view of things when it’s time to change when it’s time to ask for help because the resources to “do it yourself” are exhausted. Because yes, the mind’s resources are so many but not infinite. And sometimes, we must “just” help us to find within us the resources to start over. If you read between the lines, it is easy to realize that this type of thought is actually a defense that our minds are active in protecting ourselves. But protect yourself from what?
The fear of change
The fear of change is one of the main obstacles to psychological well-being. Even though we realize that we have ways of being and thinking that they do not make us well, we are always very reluctant to change them, since they represent our individuality, accompany us from a whole life and belong to us: in others words, make us feel safe.
Change, from this point of view, is a painful separation from something familiar, from something we are capable of managing, even if it does not make us feel good. Fear is, for so many people, to question a hard-pressed balance, for others it is to go to the unknown because we have no guarantee of a positive change: change itself is a risk.
What not everyone knows is that the psychologist will accompany you and support you along this difficult path. Others think that it is better not to touch some keys, for fear that the situation is worse. Even in this case, the psychologist will ensure that you can also process the most complex themes in a private, secure, and shared space.
Sometimes fear of change can be concealed by pessimism. So many people are convinced that even a psychologist can help them solve their problems, for which there is no solution. It should be kept in mind that mind always tends to safeguard the thoughts that it generates, even if negative, rather than confuse them. This trap does not allow us to cope with discomfort but, on the contrary, keeps the situation difficult in a fragile and precarious balance.
The fear of failure
Pessimism might also hide another kind of thought, that is, the belief that you have no right to receive help. This thought reveals a serious self-esteem, which often causes the subject to be considered a nullity, a useless and incapable person, unworthy of any kind of happiness. It’s like getting into a vicious circle where self-harmony seems to be the only remedy for your own guilt.
For others, accepting that you can not do it yourself and seek the help of a professional may be irritating, offensive. Even these people, albeit in a diametrically opposed way, feel their self-esteem strongly under attack.
The fear that underlies these two types of thought so different is, in fact, the same: I am afraid to fall. I’m afraid to look weak.
To avoid this risk, it is often simpler to think that the problems are resolved by themselves, that the period will pass, that anxiety will go away …
Having to ask for help, for many people, is a failure. In fact, deciding to deal with a psychological path denotes a great courage, the desire to test and start again, the real desire to be better, and above all the strength to believe in oneself. And this is a victory, already on the go. The fear of judgment
I include in this short writing another fear that can hinder the request for help from a psychologist: the fear of being criticized. Today, more than ever, in a society based on appearance and on psychophysical perfection, being yourself is a huge effort. The psychologist does not judge, does not evaluate your way of life. Because every thought, behavior, or attitude that an individual assumes is, in some way, functional for his survival.
The fear of emotions
Closely related to the fear of judgment is the fear of expressing their emotions. Talking about how you feel, giving a name to an emotion you are experiencing, puts us in the condition of becoming aware and of getting in touch with the emotion itself. And this can create tremendous fear, because emotions are not always easy to handle.
This is a problem that is still present and comes from the fact that the range of emotions with which one learns to live today seems to be somewhat constructed, limited. Restricted by the ease with which technological support is provided to entertain our children, losing a whole world of games, talk, sharing … Limited to the inability of a teenager to understand how her parents are so worried about him but they do nothing to understand it emotionally.
Our emotional intelligence is also erroneously built on the outdated obsession that only children should learn from their parents. Our emotional poverty also depends on what is socially and culturally accepted and shared, from what is considered right or wrong. In a world too often wrong, we should learn to accept anger, disgust, despair: emotions that are considered uncomfortable, inappropriate, incorrect, ill. In such a strongly contradictory world, we must learn to live together with strongly opposing emotions. Every emotion is a signal, a reaction of the mind to a stimulus, and as such, it must be heard, experienced, understood. And that can make you so scared.
The fear of addiction
Still, the distrust of a professional who uses the word as the main tool, and therefore often associated with the image of a “quack” or a “shrink”, leads us to believe that we will be manipulated by him, who will read in to such an extent that we can undo our defenses and make us slaves of his presence.
This injury is too far from reality, as one of the main aims of a supportive path is to increase the self-esteem of the patient so that he can feel secure about making autonomous decisions and putting in place all the resources he owns .
By training, “the psychologist / psychologist is aware of the fact that, in his professional career, he can make a significant contribution to the life of others; It is for this reason that it has a duty to pay particular attention to the personal, social, organizational, financial and political factors of the client / patient so as to avoid influencing it and to unduly exploit its trust and any situations of addiction and fragility induced by discomfort.
Moreover, “in exercising the profession, the psychologist respects the dignity, the right to self-determination and the autonomy of those who benefit from his / her performance; it respects its opinions and beliefs, refraining from imposing its system of values (Article 4 Deontological Code).
The fear of stigma
Finally, the fear that perhaps, to date, is the one that prevents you from asking for help from a psychologist. The fear of “being crazy”. In the history of psychology there have been great evolutions and important goals have been achieved, first of all considering psychological discomfort as any other organic pathology: psychological problems can be overcome, psychological pathologies can be cured, the patient carriers of a Psychic difficulty is part of our society.
Psychological discomfort is present in our culture and we must accept it.
Living a psychic difficulty does not mean “being crazy”. It means something in our lives is not working as it should, or as we would like, and we do not have the psychological and mental resources to deal with the problem; just like your heart when you do not have enough blood pressure to carry oxygen throughout your body. In these cases, you must contact a mind specialist, just as you would turn to a cardiologist when you encountered a heart problem.
Awareness of being psychological discomfort and the decision to consult a psychologist are the first step towards self-acceptance and psycho-physical well-being.
… And if anyone gets to know I’m going to the psychologist?
I believe that this aspect is closely related to the fear of stigma. It is useful in these cases to remember that every psychologist is strictly kept in professional secrecy. “It can not disclose to anyone any news, facts or information learned by the client / patient in the professional relationship with him, nor may he inform any of the professional performances performed or planned” (Article 11 Deontological Code). This means that the psychologist can not reveal any information about what is being brought to him or whether he or she is a patient. The only ones who can decide to talk about their psychological path, their own experience, are you. No one can in any way deprive you of this freedom.
What is a “backup path”? Let us now briefly see what a support path is. As the word itself says, the main objective of this type of route is to SUPPORT you during a complex or difficult time of your life. Discomfort could be a necessary personal change but actually very complex as well as a life situation that is uncomfortable but we just can not get out of it.
Still, psychological suffering may be due to relational difficulties, or the inability to understand why life sometimes raises us so hard. The psychologist uses his or her tools to accompany you on a difficult but crucial journey for your well-being, without judgment, no pretense, no expectations.
In the psychologist’s study you can feel free to do whatever you hear: talk or silence, laugh or cry, express an emotion, or ask questions about life. Whatever you sit in will be welcomed, and possibly elaborated together, in the light of new perspectives.
The psychological path will allow you to gain awareness of how you operate within your own world and what are the aspects that make you suffer or feel discomfort. Certainly, changing your way of life and some aspects of yourself is extremely difficult and challenging involves enormous fatigue. But the benefit you will gain will be of immeasurable value. YOU BELIEVE YOURSELF.