Why People Refuse Therapy – Therapy Feels like an Insult
Yesterday I was at my psychiatrist’s and I wasn’t doing terribly well. It seems I’m a little stressed. Turns out being a well-known mental health writer is a smidgen more challenging than one might think.
And so one of the recommendations my doctor made was to do some mindfulness training in a local program.
Instantly I felt myself rile against the idea. Internally I was feeling very resistant against yet more therapy.
And I realized why – therapy feels like an insult. The idea that I need more therapy seems to suggest that I’m not handling my disease in the best way possible. This seems to suggest that I don’t know everything already. More therapy feels like I’m doing something wrong and have to be fixed. The idea of more therapy suggests that someone else knows something that I don’t. And boy am I tired of bipolar treatments that don’t work.
I have had lots of therapy in my life. I have had many different kinds of therapy in my life. I have seen many different therapists in my life. I think I’m therapied-out.
That being said, I have always recognized the value of therapy and always recommend that people with a mental illness get therapy. Not because I’m insulting people with a mental illness, naturally, but because I think therapy can help pretty much everyone – mentally ill or not. So it’s not that I’m against therapy, believe me.
Resistance to Therapy
And my resistance to therapy, my feeling (illogically) that therapy is an insult, was a surprise to me. I’m all for methods that help manage bipolar disorder – and those without side effects – all the better.
But I think as I’m a perfectionist, spend hours researching mental illness, an expert and very experienced made me view the suggestion of therapy as insulting. How dare someone suggest that I don’t know everything?
I Know Everything about Bipolar
But, of course I don’t know everything about bipolar. It’s silly to think that I do. And while I have engaged in different types of therapy I have never had formal mindfulness training. And while I don’t find the idea of self-compassion very appealing (for me), who am I to say it couldn’t help? Who am I to make the judgement that this therapy won’t help without even trying it? That would just be silly of me.
Resistance to Therapy – Therapy Feels like an Insult
And so, I think this little experience gave me a bit of insight into why people show resistance to therapy. People refuse therapy for many reasons, but I think the idea that it’s an insult to their own psychology somehow, is one.
So, I remind myself today that I am far from perfect, I can always handle things better and I do not know everything – and getting help does not denote weakness, but strength. And refusing an offer of help, even if sceptical, is closed-minded, which is something I don’t consider myself to be.
About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.