Therapy can be mysterious and intimidating, especially if you don't know what to expect. So BuzzFeed Health spoke with three psychologists who all have extensive experience with psychotherapy: Stephanie Smith, Ph.D., clinical psychologist in Colorado; Ryan Howes, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and professor at Fuller Graduate School of Psychology; and Lynn Bufka, Ph.D., associate executive director of Practice Research and Policy at the American Psychological Association. Here's what they wish people knew about therapy:
1. It's not really a therapist's job to give you advice.
2. They probably see a therapist, too.
3. Most therapists don't prescribe medication.
4. You don't have to be diagnosed with a mental illness to go to therapy.
5. Your therapist isn't talking about you with their friends at the bar.
6. And they probably aren't Googling you.
7. Your therapist probably won't acknowledge you in public unless you do first.
8. Just going to therapy won't necessarily help — you have to participate.
9. Therapy doesn't have to be a long-term commitment.
10. The right "fit" is the most important factor when it comes to finding a therapist.
11. And stopping therapy doesn't mean you can never go back.
12. If you're worried that something might be inappropriate — like hugging them or asking about their personal life — just talk about it.
13. They don't have all the answers.
14. Being a therapist can be hard work.
15. But chances are, they also find what they do incredibly rewarding.
Always consult with your doctor about your personal health and wellness. BuzzFeed posts are for informational purposes only and are no substitute for medical diagnosis, treatment, or professional medical advice.