Views on Therapy

We were so pleased to sponsor the Lake Oswego Farmer’s Market on Saturday, September 1, 2018.  We met so many wonderful people and it was great to be part of our community and share our message of mental health awareness.  As part of that work, we wanted to hear from you.  At our booth, we engaged dozens of folks through activities including a raffle, a mental health awareness game, a positive affirmation board and a survey.

Our Views on Therapy survey consisted of four questions which we asked individuals to fill out.  The survey was anonymous and we encouraged participants to be open and honest with their answers.  The results we found were surprising but have helped teach us how people think about therapy and what challenges we as clinician’s need to help our clients overcome so they can feel safe, secure and be able to participate fully in their mental health journeys.

Have you attended counseling or considered it in the past?

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Our first question focused on whether folks have attended therapy in the past or considered it. We were very happy to find that over 83% of respondents said they had attended therapy or considered it in the past. Stigma is one of the greatest barriers to dealing with mental health issues we believe, so to find that an overwhelming majority of our respondents were open to therapy was great to see. We will continue to seek out and provide a welcome and safe place for individuals to start their mental health journeys.

What is the greatest obstacle you or someone you know has faced when seeking counseling?

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For nearly half of our respondents, the cost of therapy was the greatest barrier to seeking counseling. If you include respondents who identified lack of insurance, more than 60% of respondents reported financial concerns being the greatest barrier to therapy.

This is an area of significant concern for us and we are constantly working to reduce the financial barriers individuals face when seeking therapy with our clinicians. We offer reduced fees for those with financial need and we have worked to become providers for as many health insurers as possible. We strongly support access to healthcare for all people regardless of income.

We also recognize that more work needs to be done to change perception and reduce stigma of mental health. We want mental health to be viewed in the same manner as physical health so that individuals have greater access to mental health services.

What are Reasons Someone would seek therapy?

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Our next question was focused on getting a better sense of what people think are reasons to seek therapy. One common statement we hear from clients whom were hesitant to seek therapy is the their problems are not ‘bad enough’ or that others ‘have it a lot worse than I do’.

What we found from our survey - and what we want you to take away - is that all kinds of problems bring people to therapy. An issue which is significant to you may not affect someone else. If something is affecting your life and keeping you from living the life you want to live, then it is worthy of being addressed, and therapy is a great place to do that. Everyone deserves to have their feelings validated.

What is most important when choosing a therapist?

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Of all our questions on the survey, the last one produced the most surprising results - at least at first. It can be difficult to know why someone chooses to work with one therapist or another. The sharing of intimate details of your life is difficult and finding the right person to share that information with is a significant part of seeking therapy.

No two therapists are alike, and from the results of our survey, what makes each therapist unique is important for individuals when seeking therapy. Over 60% of respondents identified that the clinician and their background or experience were the most significant factors when considering working with a therapist.

While cost was the most significant barrier preventing individuals from seeking therapy, our results indicate that the cost of one therapist compared to another was only a minor factor when choosing a therapist.

We truly believe that mental health should be viewed in the same way as physical health. Our survey suggests that making a connection with your therapist is critical in their mental health journey. We need to make sure that there are therapists whom reflect all walks of life and experiences so that no one feels excluded or left out when they seek therapy. We will continue to work to provide a diverse environment so that everyone feels welcome.

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Have a different view on these questions? Want to contribute to our understanding of your views on therapy? Take our survey here. Your answers will be anonymous and we will not collect any personal information.

Kellie Collins