We all want to be stronger. In order to do that psychologically, many people go to therapy. However, according to recent studies less than 4% of the American public utilizes psycho-therapeutic services. This shockingly low number speaks to the ignorance of many people, and the apparent stigma of therapy.
In my 30 years of being a therapist, I have my own observations. Starting therapy is one of the hardest things to do. When people find the courage to pick up the 10,000 pound telephone to make an initial appointment, they don’t leave messages. Other people call, leave messages, and never return a follow up call. If people return the call and make a first appointment, 15% of them cancel late or do not show up at all. Anxiety and fear of change is running wild!
For years, therapists have made many statements about when people will attend therapy. We have said things like “when the person is ready to change, they will attend”, “when the pain is great enough..” “when they hit bottom…” These well intentioned bumper sticker statements don’t help a scared and running like hell population. They only rationalize the person’s behavior and put little band-aids on our inabilities for more people to get better.
The question about how to get more of the population to attend therapy is a huge issue. Psychological groups have started awareness days for disorders(alcohol, depression, anxiety, etc.) in an effort to give people access for help. There is “National Psychotherapy Day“(this year on 9-25-14)in which supporters of therapy are requested to wear turquoise to show support. We’ve given people more opportunities to have health insurance and created parity laws to “level the playing field”. It is unknown if any of these macro movements produce change. My pitch for more people to attend therapy comes via Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen recently recorded a song entitled “Land of hope and dreams” I think the refrain serves as a great invitation to come to therapy. Watch the video and see if you agree.
carries saints and sinners
carries losers and winners
carries whores and gamblers
carries lost souls
carries broken hearted
thieves and sweet souls departed
carries fools and carries kings
I said this train
dreams will not be thwarted
faith will be rewarded
hear the steel wheels singing
bells of freedom ring
The train will soon be boarding…
Change is possible