Should I hide therapy?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q.I’m in a family that is 110% AGAINST therapy and the whole field of psychology. They feel as though mental illness is a choice and one which can be easily stopped. I’m afraid to seek help for my problems, some of which include, sucidial thoughts and cutting. If I do seek treatment, I will have to hide therapy from my family, and most of all, my boyfriend with whom I reside. I do not want to lie to him, but feel I have no other choice. I’ve tried stopping the cutting on my own, but am unsuccessful in doing so. He is aware of the behavior, but can’t/won’t see that I need help for it. Is it wrong to hide therapy from your loved ones, especially those you spend 24/7 with? I really don’t want to spend the rest of my life like this. Thank you.

A. It is unfortunate that anyone would think mental illness is a choice. I know there are people out there that still have this opinion, but it is such a wrong opinion, one that could not be further from the truth. Frankly, some people just cannot handle the truth. When you are dealing with people this uninformed, I do believe that you will have to hide your therapy from them. It is highly unlikely that their attitude towards therapy with ever change. There is nothing you can say to change their minds so do not even try. It would be a waste of your time.

You should seek therapy for your suicidal thoughts and cutting. I admire you for trying to stop on your own but as you pointed out, it is clearly not working. If your family does not believe in therapy, that is their problem. Your problem now is that you are engaging in dangerous behaviors that require professional assistance. Which is the greater evil? Getting the help needed to feel better, help that most rational people find to be acceptable (therapy) or not getting help and risk committing suicide? The answer to this question is obvious.

My advice is to go to therapy and do not tell your family. Maybe your boyfriend will be able to accept this over time, after he sees that you are getting help. You need to do what you need to do to help yourself, no matter what your family’s opinion may be. It is you that matters here; you are the one suffering. Since they are so against therapy, you will have to hide it from them. It is unfortunate that that is the way it has to be but it is just the way it will have to be. Please seek therapy and get help for yourself. The only other choice you have is to suffer in silence and I think you have suffered enough. Take care.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Jun 2006

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2006). Should I hide therapy?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/06/08/should-i-hide-therapy/