Mental health is one of those things that people tend to ignore. After all, the signs of serious mental issues may not be obvious as, say, a fracture or something that requires immediate medical attention. However, it is just as important as physical health. Virtuous Circle Counselling is one of those facilities that recognize the significance of mental health. They offer counseling and other such services to individuals with emotional and mental issues.
Modern life brings with it increased stressors. Whether it’s an unfulfilling relationship, a stressful work schedule that leaves little time for relaxation, or financial pressure, all these things could lead to extreme anxiety and other mental issues. Given all the possible risk factors that can destabilize people’s mental health, it would seem that mental care professionals would be in abundance. However, this is far from the case. There is an increasing number of people unable to access therapists to help them deal with their mental and emotional issues. Even in big metropolitan areas with a seemingly large number of licensed therapists, getting access to one can be difficult. For example, it’s not uncommon to hear of someone being on a waiting list for months before they can get some face time with a certified psychologist. In rural areas, this is even worst. Mental health professionals are scarce, meaning that people there will try to come to big cities to access the services of a psychologist, thereby adding to the already existing problem of a huge backlog of patients.
Several factors account for the difficulty involved in trying to secure the services of a therapist. A major theme surrounding these factors includes fear, shame, or stigma. For example:
i) The search for a therapist is not something that people often talk about openly. Even with friends or family, people often avoid the subject of therapy or the fact that they may need one. Someone that’s already seeing a therapist is unlikely to recommend such services to a friend for fear of admitting their need for mental health assistance.
ii) Talking about going to see a therapist is seen as being “weak.” Strong people are expected to tough it out. Admitting that you have mental or emotional issues to deal with can make people uncomfortable or see you differently. To avoid that, most people would rather pound the pavement than risk the potential ridicule and negative connotations associated with seeking mental help. This, of course, makes it difficult for them to find a good therapist.
iii) Even for those who have admitted to seeking professional help, it can be challenging to figure out which kind of therapist would adequately address their problems. For instance, Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) help individuals battling addictions like pornography. They can offer such services in group therapy or on an individual basis. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) help people going through a divorce or separated couples. LCSWs and LMFTs are some of the many types of therapists available. If you’re seeking mental health services for the first time, it may be difficult to know which kind of therapist fits your needs. This fact, coupled with the fear of being seen as “weak,” makes it difficult for many individuals to find the right therapist.
iv) A shortage of therapists. With more people considering professional therapists to deal with their mental and emotional issues, there has been a significant increase in the demand for therapists. Most therapists are fully booked for at least two months. This means that the average person may have to contact many therapists just to get on their waiting list. This is often a time-consuming task. Even after finding one, the individual may have to wait months before being able to see the therapist.
v) Not knowing what to expect. If it’s your first time seeking the services of a professional therapist, you may not know what to expect. Knowing what a therapy session is supposed to do and experiencing it firsthand are two different things. You may find a therapist willing to help. However, whether or not the sessions are helpful is a different matter. If the therapist isn’t a good fit, you may only realize this later on, having wasted time and resources. This means starting your search afresh. This is a common thing among people seeking therapists for the first time. Such a cycle makes it difficult for them to find a therapist, let alone the right one.
All in all, a shortage of professional therapists, coupled with the associated shame of admitting to having mental issues, is responsible for why finding a therapist is so difficult.