It’s Okay To See A Therapist

All too often we’re faced with the stigma of mental health when we talk about going to therapy.

By Lisa Marcelino, PhD, LAMFT

What happens when you tell someone you’re going to the doctor? Or when you’re going to the dentist? Now think about telling someone you’re going to see a therapist. What’s the reaction? 

All too often we’re faced with the stigma of mental health when we talk about going to therapy.

If you disclose to a loved one that you’re seeing a therapist, you might be met with confusion, criticism, and/or scrutiny. This can leave you feeling embarrassed and ashamed. After you finally mustered up the courage to talk about your mental health, you walk away feeling worse than before.

After telling someone about your plans to improve your mental health with therapy, they might say:

  • “You’re not crazy, are you?”
  • “But you’re not unstable!”
  • “You don’t need a therapist.” 
  • “You can handle this on your own.”
  • “You should keep your problems to yourself.”

If you’ve ever heard these responses before, you’re not alone. When you tell someone you’re seeking help for depression, anxiety, or low-self esteem, you might be worried about what others will think of you. You may feel judged for seeking help. Some might even tell you that it’s “weak” to talk about your problems with a professional. In turn, you may not end up getting the help that could significantly change your life for the better. 

The truth is that mental health is an important aspect of overall well-being.

While caring for the physical body is often seen as an immediate and legitimate concern, caring for the mind is not viewed in the same way. However, it should be. The mind is a part of the body, and therefore should be cared for with the same concern that would be given to a heart, kidney, or liver.  Even more, when we experience prolonged depression, anxiety, or anger, it can cause physical ailments to manifest themselves. Just one example of this is how negative mental states can increase the risk of heart disease or worsen existing heart issues (Karki & Mahara, 2022).  

People often race to a physician’s office when they feel troubling physical symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, or a rapid heart beat. Likewise, when we feel sadness, depression, anger, or anxiety, we should consider seeing a therapist. Just as the various parts of our physical bodies need periodic testing and evaluation, the mind needs to be cared for and monitored, too. This is called the mind-body connection. 

The mind-body connection is so important for our well-being. We should try our best to be in tune with it.  As we periodically examine our physical symptoms to make sure we aren’t coughing, sneezing, or wheezing, we should also be checking our mental health to see whether or not we are:

  • Isolating
  • Obsessing over intrusive thoughts
  • Feeling depressed
  • Worrying excessively
  • Struggling with day-to-day functioning

We should also be checking in with ourselves and how we are feeling on a regular basis. If you’ve never tried checking in with yourself mentally, here are some tips to get started:

  • Ask yourself how you’re (really) feeling today.
  • Think about anything that could be holding you back from living the kind of day you envision for yourself.
  • Imagine your best life. What’s missing? Be specific.

I encourage everyone to reflect on their mental health and think about what could be better in your life. Examine your thoughts, hopes, dreams, fears, and feelings on a regular basis. Perhaps you want to function at your best but you’re not sure how. Remember that you don’t have to start that journey alone. When you feel less than your best, remind yourself that “it’s okay to see a therapist”!

Karki M, Mahara G. Heart diseases, anxiety disorders, and negative thoughts. Heart Mind [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2022 Jan 21]. Available from:

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