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ΑρχικήEnglish EditionIs there a touch of taboo in psychotherapy?

Is there a touch of taboo in psychotherapy?

By Polina Pallieraki, 

There is a terror that our need for treatment will give others the impression that we are not “normal”. In other words, many humans think that doing therapy means they are “crazy” and they are afraid that others will believe the same for them. The disciplines of psychology and psychiatry are undoubtedly considered among the fastest-growing scientific fields today. More and more people choose to pursue a career in mental health as their future employment.

However, why is a visit to a qualified mental health professional still taboo in 2021?

Significant steps have been taken in informing about psychology and psychiatry, contributing to and promoting mental health, but words often differ from deeds. Admittedly, the period of the pandemic persuaded a large number of people to seek the guidance of a psychologist or psychiatrist to combat issues of stress, despair, and terror at the professional, personal, work, family, and other aspects of their public and private life, in which they change the prevailing conditions. In fact, for the aforementioned reasons, the psychosocial support hotline 10306, was activated to make a decisive contribution to resolving dysfunctional circumstances.

Why is psychotherapy still taboo?

Often words like “crazy”, “weak”, and “sick” are the ones that first come to mind when a human being thinks about the possibility of the following treatment. These stereotypes are exclusively about psychology. No one thinks about cardiologists, neurologists, or other specialists. We do not have to go “crazy” to seek psychological support. It is normal to visit the doctor for an annual check-up, without necessarily having health problems. So, why should we have a mental health problem to discuss with therapists issues that concern us?

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What can one think that, while they have found that some situations that cannot be managed by themselves, stereotypically, do not take the initiative to visit a specialist (indicative)?

-“I am not deranged, nor am I feeble”

-“What will people say?”

-“I can do it on my own”

-“My friends and family can offer the right solution”

-“I am afraid of what they will tell me”

-“Unnecessary waste of money”.

Therapists are essentially doctors of the brain. They use methods that will help us manage our stressful situations in our daily lives and feel restored. We cannot profess that we do not have anxiety or that we do not feel oppressed in our lives sometimes.

Therapists are trained professionals who help us deal with life more healthily. “Health” is the keyword. We are constantly taught to take care of our bodies, but not our souls, however, that does not mean that this should be the case. Who does not need to talk to someone? We are grateful for the family and friends we can turn to whenever we need to talk, nevertheless, these people can help to some degree. Therapists are trained to listen. They are not trained to judge us or even worse to attack us, but even so to help us cope with anything that bothers us. Therapists are not aware of our life or history. It is up to us to open up to them and apprise them of who we are. They are not there to transmit our misconceptions about ourselves, they are there to help expand our minds and assist.

Many doctorates in psychology bring together the most common difficulties that will lead a person to the specialist. These can only be expressed psycho-emotionally or communicatively:

-The persistent feeling of dissatisfaction

-Feelings of loneliness, sadness, failure, tension, and stress

-Communication difficulties in marital, family, work, and interpersonal relationships

-Difficulty in planning and achieving goals

-Problems related to the child’s behavior, and or his performance at school

-Tension and stress in the family due to the difficulty of its members to deal with the existence of chronic diseases (AIDS, HIV, heart disease, infertility, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, etc.)

-Difficulties in controlling anger (violence and aggression)

-Problems due to abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, etc.)

-Perennial financial difficulties

-Adaptation problems at school, at work (difficulties with co-workers, reduced performance, etc), and in general any kind of changes that occur in life.

But they can also take the form of psycho-physical problems:

-Unexplained fatigue or insomnia

-Sexual issues or worries

-Problems related to drug or alcohol abuse

-Grievous fluctuations in body weight may be associated with eating disorders (psychogenic anorexia, bulimia, obesity, etc.).

Image source: https://www.iatronet.gr/terpsi-zwi/terpsi-zwi/article/13148/to-tampoy-toy%20-psyxologoy.htm

The decision to visit a mental health professional is certainly courageous and crucial to a person’s development. For this reason, the interested party must find the specialist he deems suitable, without coercion and pressure. In addition to that, mental health counselors adhere to a strict code of ethics, confidentiality, and personal data protection, so that individual is completely protected. Another point that must be considered is the fact that just as the body is sick and we consult the appropriate doctor for the individual diseased point, so the soul when it is “sick” we must protect it and ”cure” it, otherwise the consequences will are catastrophic, without inciting the thought of financial costs, which is incalculable in the fact of health. In addition, every person in society taking a variety of roles, and with the rhythms of everyday life being particularly intense and often devastating, it is normal to need some kind of mental help. It is no coincidence that every year the Ministry of Education strengthens the school units with psychologists, as well as provides psychological support within the universities.

Taking everything into account, in case someone has not realized that he needs help or does not want to think about the above, it would be helpful enough for the close environment of the person to directly or indirectly encourage him to receive the appropriate special guidance. It is crucial to recognize the “chaos” that prevails in the individual psyche until the acceptance and exploration for a solution.

After all, a dedicated therapist cooperates with us intending to reach our goals. In addition, sessions are not always about just talking about our problems. We can discuss everything in life: problems, successes, failures, joys, sorrows. Therapists do not attempt to inform us about how to live our lives. They struggle to help us live a more productive and worthwhile life for ourselves. The treatment helps people who are fighting with debilitating mental illness, but it also helps people who can not or do not realize how to deal with the issues that arise in their daily lives. The treatment offers everyone what they require. Ameliorating is an implementation for everyone since we can learn more about ourselves and our needs. And learning and recognizing our reality contributes to our happiness, health, and personal growth.

  • Γιατί η ψυχοθεραπεία αποτελεί ακόμα ταμπού: Τρομακτικό.gr. Available here.
  • Το ταμπού του ψυχολόγου: Ιατροnet. Available here.



Polina Pallieraki
She was born in Athens and she is a student of Philosophy at National Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA). She speaks English, French and Spanish and she plays the guitar as a hobby. She is very interested in books and journalism especially in social and cultural issues, because she can externalize her thoughts and opinion. She is passionate about whatever she does and she is trying to do her best in every role she undertakes.