It's our job as private practitioners to change this because if people - our potential clients - think counselling is scary, then they simply won't want to come.
So does therapy need a rebrand?
Some people see counselling as a punishment, some think it's because they are 'broken' and need fixing, some seem to think we're going to judge them, be patronising or tell them what to do. They even we will make them do something they don't want to.
Maybe they think they've done something wrong, or they have failed, or that because they are struggling, it proves they simply aren't enough.
Many people think they will be analysed - when you tell someone you've just met that you're a therapist, there's often a nervous laugh and they say 'ooh, don't analyse me!'
Or they don't think they are worth it, that 'there are people out there worse off' (we've all heard clients say that) so they don't get help, and then feel progressively worse.
I recently did a survey of attitudes the public have towards counselling and it was such an eye opener, and informs us of what we as private practitioners need to be doing to communicate with people what we do and who we help, and to allay some of the fears many people have about accessing counselling.
Check out the replay of 'Let's change the public perception of counselling' and learn about the survey results, and get some ideas of simple changes you can make to change this, and attract more clients.
Because if we can change these negative perceptions, more people will access counselling, and access counselling sooner.
How are therapists portrayed in the media?
Well, as you lie on a couch, they look at you over their glasses whilst writing on a clipboard. A bit clinical, holier than thou. And Frasier - great show, but he's a pious snob!
The therapists I know do their best to make the client feel comfortable, accepted, valued, understood.
Counsellors are just people - warm, caring, kind people, and that's why it's vital to let your personality show through your blogging, social media and other marketing. This is the modern face of therapy.
If you seem friendly, warm and approachable people will be more likely to pick up the phone and get help.
Tell people clearly and simply who you help, and how they can expect to feel after counselling.
For example, people often report that they feel:
You aren't making any guarantees, just showing ways it might be beneficial.
Therapy isn't for everyone I know that. But there are a lot of people out there that would really benefit from counselling but are just too scared to reach out.
So what do you think? Does therapy need a rebrand?
Watch the free webinar below and see how you can join the Therapy Rebrand movement.