If you haven’t seen a psychologist before, chances are you may think psychologists are:
Wise and “knowing” – think The Soprano’s or In Treatment – where they ask question after question and only ever elude to meanings.
Consult only patients who are highly erratic and unstable – think Dangerous Minds or Girl Interrupted.
Explore every piece of your childhood – think Betty Draper in Mad Men or The Soprano’s.
Psychologists are generally portrayed as elusive characters with an inherit ability to read the psychological make-up of a person. They’re also portrayed to be cold and clinical in their approach, reserved only for the “mentally insane”. All in all, the portrayal of psychologists in movies and TV shows makes the concept of psychological support seem intimidating.
Fortunately, psychologists are nothing like the movies or TV shows.
10 Common Myths About Psychologists
#Myth 1. Psychologists are mind readers. A psychologist does not know what you are thinking. At best, a psychologist can learn some of your patterns of thinking based on what you’ve shared over the course of therapy. However, a psychologist will not assume what you’re thinking and will instead ask you!
#Myth 2. Psychologists have perfect lives. I wish this was true! Psychologists experience difficulties and pain in their lives, just like anyone else. Psychologists often seek psychological support for their issues, to ensure they are the best support for their clients.
#Myth 3. Therapy is all about childhood. Sure, sometimes psychologists talk about your childhood. However, this is in a focused way, to help you understand how adulthood patterns have arisen. Depending on the nature of your issues, psychologists will often focus only on the present day to improve psychological wellbeing.
#Myth 4. Psychologists assess you for your “crazy”. This is absolutely not true – psychologists never think you’re crazy. The word “crazy” is considered a swear word in the world of psychology due to its derogatory nature. In fact, psychologists understand psychological distress so well, that they view your problems as normal and a part of life.
#Myth 5. Psychologists are focused on your problems. Just not true! Often psychologists want to understand your strengths and resilience – i.e. how you’ve adapted and coped with adversity. By understanding your resilience, we can help you to improve your ways of coping.
#Myth 6. Psychologists are very serious. In actual fact, most psychologists love to share a laugh with their clients. Psychologists aim to be authentic and genuine, as they wish to develop a natural and trusting relationship with you.
#Myth 7. Psychologists “analyse” you. This is perhaps the most intimidating misconception about psychologists, as it suggests psychologists are judging you in some way. Instead of analysing you, psychologists tend to listen intently to you with the aim of forming an in-depth understanding of your issues. Psychologists avoid assuming things about you and prefer to seek clarification from you to check their understanding.
#Myth 8. Clinical psychologists are better than psychologists. Nope! The title of a psychologist does not determine their quality. The quality of a psychologist is down to their ability to understand your issues, instil hope, technical skills, and experience in the area you’re seeking help for. You can read more here about the difference between a psychologist and clinical psychologist or about how to find a good psychologist.
#Myth 9. Psychologists deal with serious issues. Actually, psychologists tend to deal with a range of issues from serious mental health concerns to simple life changes or adjustments. Often psychologists also consult individuals who wish to purely focus on personal growth rather than a problem.
#Myth 10. Psychologists don’t give advice. Sure, psychologists don’t tell you what to do, but we definitely guide you in a helpful direction and give supportive advice. Psychologists are very thoughtful in the way they deliver their advice. They only ever provide advice based on a thorough understanding of your difficulties and evidence-based theory and techniques.
With the right support, therapy is life changing.
However, these common misconceptions act as significant barriers to seeking psychological support. If you’re feeling apprehensive about seeing a psychologist for the first time, it can help to understand what to expect in the first session.
How can Peaceful Mind Psychology help?
We are a team of Hawthorn and Armadale psychologists with varying experience across different areas of mental health. All of our psychologists share some essential qualities: Our psychologists are warm, conscientious, and professional. We match all new clients to a psychologist who suits your needs and personality. Contact us today if you’re ready to book an appointment.