yes, therapy helps!
No, psychologists do not give free therapy

No, psychologists do not give free therapy

June 15, 2024

Yes, the psychologists dedicated to mental health intervention They are one of those groups of professionals who, along with photographers, musicians and many others, are often questioned by this idea: "Do you work for free for me, please?".

Of course, this kind of requests are never raised so directly; they usually express themselves implicitly, making the conversation continue to have the appearance of informal dialogue when in the end a commitment is proposed at the professional level.

But no, the task of psychologists in the field of health is defined, precisely, because it is a job, something that by default you have to pay a fee , either from patients or from public entities. If this basic idea is not respected by many people it is, in part, due to two myths about psychology that we will see below.


The personal need to "make people happy"

One of the myths that most feed the belief that psychologists are expected to give free therapy is the idea that, by virtue of having chosen that career, before workers are pure souls who are happy simply by making others happy . That is, doing favors.

Of course, this vision of what it means to "make others happy" she is totally interested and short-term . How many people could benefit a psychologist who has to spend much of the week exercising for free? During how much time?

The same idealistic vision that leads, for example, to say that culture is free to defend that artists can see how their work is distributed without charging anything makes many people see psychologists as people who can afford to become themselves an NGO (although without the advantages that the NGOs have).


Of course we psychologists like to help others , and in many cases that feeling is what makes many decide to start the career of psychology. But that does not mean that by default and until the opposite is said, the interests of others must pass in front of those of the professional.

Anyone can give advice

Another myth that leads many people to expect free psychotherapy sessions is that, what is done in them is basically giving advice. Something that can be done in the bar of a bar, something that is easy and intuitive. Something that can even happen as a leisure time for both parties.

Why do not we offer free psychological therapy?

Why try to charge for something that everyone can do and above that is a light entertainment? Also, the fact of giving advice and seeing how the other person respects our point of view must be very good for self-esteem, right? Psychologists are very lucky.


Actually, there is nothing in this reasoning that is not wrong. What health psychologists do is far from giving advice, and neither is talk light or a "spoken cure" as fast as heating rice in the microwave. And, of course, the rationale for psychotherapy is not to exchange advice in exchange for a good dose of ego.

What is psychological intervention

What psychologists do to intervene about problems of individual people is, among other things, schedule some schedules with those who commit not to be doing other things when it comes to serving a customer.

It is, also, actively listening and concentrating their efforts for a long time in understanding the problem and the needs of the person served. You have to know where the specific characteristics of a person's life end and where the generalities begin that allow comparing that case with others and establishing a diagnosis of the situation.

The information obtained in the consultation is also contrasted with another class of information of more theoretical scope, the result of the work of many psychologists who are dedicated to research.

Psychotherapy also is to make decisions that commit both parties , since estimating whether or not a symptom picture fits into a theoretical diagnostic category carries the risk of being wrong, and the actions that are to be carried out must be consistent with this decision.

The psychologists they create intervention programs that consist of much more than talking : can lead sessions of exposure to phobias, biofeedback and even evaluate cognitive abilities on-site or through tests that require to be used in a very precise way, among other things.

And, of course, let's not forget the training . For psychologists to provide their services, they must invest effort, time and money not only in a university career, but also in masters, specialized seminars and even readings of scientific articles, since the science of behavior and mental processes is constantly evolving . Intellectual stagnation is not an option.

Claim the value of one's work

All these activities that enhance psychologists would be impossible if they did not demand a fair payment for their work. Not charging on time is a valid option, but not what defines the profession .

The error is, perhaps, to believe that the work of psychologists, designers or computer scientists is so insignificant that it can happen as something that could be done without charging but that is normally remunerated to give it the appearance of professionalism. A belief that, coincidentally, always benefits the party that asks for the favor, as if the odd thing was to receive a payment in exchange for work.


A Therapist Answers Questions You're Too Afraid To Ask (June 2024).


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