Culture & Lifestyle / Speak Up! Why Are We So Afraid Of Talking To Therapists?

Speak Up! Why Are We So Afraid Of Talking To Therapists?

Culture & Lifestyle Jul 24, 2019

Life is hard. It’s beautiful and can be full of celebration but there’s no denying it is also challenging. What’s one thing we can do to make it easier for ourselves? Talk to a therapist! Therapy is beneficial for everyone, so read on as we talk about the several benefits of just talking and we analyze why are we so afraid of talking to therapists. 

Therapy. A word that used to be (and in some places still is) a cause of fear, tension and judgment. People who went to talk therapy were considered weak and incapable of solving their own problems. There’s also been social and cultural fears about others (a therapist) knowing private, family and personal issues and it’s been considered taboo to talk about feelings and mental health especially in South Asian cultures.

Thankfully, the stigma around talk therapy is changing and people are starting to recognize it as the act of courage that it is. It takes a lot of self-awareness and bravery to put the ego aside and seek support. One of the driving forces of change is that the rates of mental illness (including depression and anxiety) and suicide have climbed. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016, India was ranked as 6th out of all countries measured by WHO for the highest rate or suicide in women and 22nd for men. We owe it to ourselves, our communities and future generations to talk about the importance of mental health.

In those conversations, we must acknowledge that therapy is not just for people navigating through mental illness or contemplating suicide; the absence of mental illness does not mean mental health. Therapy is a healthy habit and we don’t need to wait for a hardship to do it. It may be more beneficial to seek a therapist even when life is running smoothly to help increase our resiliency and stamina for when it hits a bump in the road. Life does not go as planned – haven’t most of us experienced an unexpected or difficult hardship? Perhaps an illness, death of a loved one, a job loss, cultural pressures about marriage, career or school? Challenge is part of the human experience and talk therapy can help.

Therapy can benefit any one at any time, read how below:

It’s a confidential: By-law, therapists are required to respect client confidentiality, so you don’t have to fear or anything you share will be shared with others (unless there’s indication of self-harm or abuse at which it may change as a form of protection but your therapist will/should explain this beforehand).

It’s a third-party confidant: Loved ones are great to confide in but a challenge that can arise with family and friends is that their emotions and opinions may get in the way of listening to us. Take for example you’re sharing your fears/concerns on marriage with your cousin, with the cultural expectations of South Asians to get married your cousin also grew up with, he/she may encourage you to ignore your concerns to prevent upsetting your family.


Why Are We So Afraid Of Talking To Therapists
Why Are We So Afraid Of Talking To Therapists?:It can be hard to talk to loved ones, therapy can improve communication skills. Photo Credit:


It’s an act of self-care: Life is busy, and many people feel pulled in several directions, overstimulated and overwhelmed. Talk therapy is a form of self-love; it’s a way to show your heart, soul, spirit, conscious that you matter, that you’re well-being is important enough to make time for (even 1 session every two weeks or month is better than no session). Therapy is a positive tool to add to your spiritual maintenance plan.

It increases self-awareness: Sometimes we repeat patterns, habits or behaviours without even realizing it (or we know we’re doing it but don’t know why). Stress can be bottled up in our body without us even realizing it and science is already showing how that can impact our health. Talking to a therapist can help us identify those elements in our life and increase our awareness on the root causes, triggers and actions we can take to help change or navigate through them.

It increases problem solving skills: In talk therapy, your therapists are supposed to listen, probe with questions and at times provide guidance that can help you come to conclusions and/or solutions on your own. Therapists are not supposed to provide hard advice or tell you what to do but to help you come to realizations on your own which can overall increase your problem-solving skills in the present and future.


Why Are We So Afraid Of Talking To Therapists
Why Are We So Afraid Of Talking To Therapists?: Talk therapy can be done alone or in a group, experiment with both!  Photo Credit:


It strengthens communication skills: Not everyone has the gift of gab. Talking to a therapist, can increase communication skills by helping us work through several jumbled thoughts to express points with clarity. It can also help with listening skills. How? When we experience the benefits of having someone listen to us, it can inspire us to become better listeners (many people with good intentions jump into giving loved one’s advice or trying to solve their problems for them. Therapy reminds us that sometimes our loved ones just need to vent and the most helpful thing we can do is hold space for them by just listening).

The benefits of therapy do not end here but there’s nothing you can read that will be as impactful as the personal experience of trying it for yourself so we suggest you get to talking! Last tip is to stay patient with your therapy practice; you may not find the right therapist immediately or feel the impact of the first session so approach it with an open mind and awareness that it may take a few sessions.


Main Image Photo Credit: 

Rachna Sethi

Rachna Sethi


Rachna (@mindfullyyours)is a graduate of the Applied Mindfulness Meditation program from the University of Toronto, a certified Educator with two bachelor degrees and a diploma in Art Therapy. She's dedicated to living with a compassionate approach. Committed to helping people integrate Mindfulness...


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