Therapy Stigma

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    There is a stigma in relation to people who receive mental health therapy. This probably prevents people who need help from getting it. Is there anything we can do about this problem?



    All of us know people who are taking medication and/or seeing a therapist, whether or not we know it.

    I would implore anyone who is having issues to see a professional.

    NY Mom

    ICOT: Kol hakavod! I applaud you!

    Unfortunately, anonymouslysecret is correct and it is still a stigma, but more and more people do seek treatment, B”H. My husband knows a frum psychotherapist who sometimes talks about his practice (never reveals personal info, just generalities) and he says that certain circles in the frum communities are more open to it, while others are still in the dark ages about it and do not. And ICOT you are correct when you say that we all know people who are taking medication/seeing a therapist. It is more common than most people think.

    There is a frum mental health referral organization called Relief that helps connect frum people to the right therapist/doctor who can help in whatever area necessary. You can google it. Anyone who is going through a tough time should not hesitate, but should seek the help that they need, and do not allow the societal stigma to prevent themselves from getting in control of the their problems and their lives.


    I can only try: I definitely agree with you… but I need to point out something else… it’s not always chemical imbalances and medication situations…

    There are many people who unfortunately have gone through difficult things and need help dealing with it. I think part of the stigma is the fact that many people assume that those who go to therapy have a chemical imbalance (not that there should be a stigma attached to that…) and really there are many people that need professional help because of circumstances that they are in and have no control over…


    I never take the posts on YW seriously but I hope mine here will encourage someone to take action. A long time ago I suffered through terrible abuse. For many years I kept convincing myself that I did not need counseling even though I knew very well that anyone in my situation would definitely need help in dealing with it. I finally took the plunge recently and called Relief for a referral and I thank Hashem for giving me the courage to do it. I expended so much mental energy trying to maintain a “normal” life when inside I was hurt, heartbroken and confused. I spent years burying my raging emotions that needed to be released. Therapy is hard work and sometimes you may want to turn back but the inner peace you achieve by letting go of the secrets and confronting the shame is priceless.


    children who need therapys are also stigmatized, thats why its better not to tell anyone about it and keep silence to everyone including family. i dont like the fact that ppl deny help when help is really needed!


    There is not only a stigma that is problematic – often GOOD therapists will not accept someone’s health insurance, i.e. GHI. For someone who truly needs help, that is a devastating expense to bear, among all his other problems. I also believe very strongly that bad therapy is worse than NO therapy.


    Hamodia and Binah have been trying to reduce the stigma with various articles about the issue.


    That’s true. Binah and Hamodia have destigmatized alot.


    Relief can help pay for cost of therapy


    NY Mom-

    Yasher kochach for the kind words and the additional info.

    Please consider posting the info on the “Support Groups” thread as well:


    I certainly am not saying all issues can be treated with meds. You’re absolutely correct that problems can be caused by traumatic experiences as well. Abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, grief, chronic pain and umpteen other things can also be a cause. Many times treatment involves a combination of therapy and medication. Sometimes different meds are tried with varying dosages. The degree of success varies greatly. I mentioned two specific disorders (depression and panic) because they are terribly debilitating and destructive, can often be treated with meds, and depression specifically was mentioned in the “Support Groups” thread.


    Great SN – using one’s own difficult past experience to help others is a great example of “making lemonade from lemons”.


    I don’t disagree about the cost of treatment, but like any health issue this has to be the highest priority.



    We can’t control people who may “stigmatize”, but we can ignore them when it comes to getting help for those who need it.

    Kudos to Hamodia and Binah for their efforts.

    NY Mom

    joyous: I must commend you and tell you how much I respect you for your post. Even posting that anonymously took a lot of courage. I am sure that your have helped and encouraged others in similar situations to yours.

    May it be a zechus for you and may Hashem help you in all aspects of your life. Yehi ratzon sheHKBH yemaleh kol mishalos libcha l’tovah.


    How do you know if someone is getting the correct therapy?

    Be Happy

    The problem is ignorance! if you say the “T” word people go quiet and chnge the subject. I know Binah and Hamodia are trying but I don’t think it is enough.

    mybat: I think you will know if someone is getting the right therapy if they are willing to go back to the therapist and if they begin to feel supported – that someone understands.


    i didnt read any of the responses, so please forgive me if i repeat something.

    yes, there IS something we can do about it. we can stop worrying so much about what everyone else thinks/will think, and start doing what is best for ourselves. someone wont go out with you or your child because you are seeing a therapist? they you probably dont want them in your family anyway.

    i know its been this way for a while, but when did we stop thinking about ourselves?


    going to a therapist is crucial for people who need it, and they should not avoid it because of what others think.

    However, it is hard to remove the stigma….part in it lies in fact that mental problems deal with something that is unique to human beings and not animals…and thats the saichel, human mind.

    so when someone is handicaped physically in his limbs, or other organs, people at least are comforted that as you say in yiddish “his head works”…

    when a person suffers from a mental dissability…people feel a disconnect from that person, they feel that person does not understand what is being said or told or is happening ( which in many many cases is false)

    I know about this because i had a neighbor who suffered from a mental illness and when people found out they started talking to her very slowly or not at all…

    they just felt she must not “chap” if she has this problem.

    At times, this may be true, some conditions like schiznophrenia may be like this but most conditions have more to do with moods, depression, mental obsessions and paranoia…among others where the person fully grasps people’s reactions and attitudes

    and it destroys their self esteem if others stop treating them as human beings.

    so its a hard stigma to break…but should be broken nonetheless…


    i took the time to read everyones posts. while i agree with everyone, i just want to put out there that therapy is not just about abuse or mental disorders. for example, children with ADHD or behavioral problems might very well benefit from therapy. therapy is not just about medication- that is PSYCHIATRY. we are talking about PSYCHOLOGY here too, and it is important to remember that. a couple suffering from marital problems may benefit from therapy, but it does not necessarily involve mental disorders or abuse.

    i think part of the problem is that therapy is associated with the heavier things, like depression, schizophrenia, bpd, etc. people seem to forget that psychology is a multi-faceted field which deals with MANY things, like anorexia, post partum depression, ADHD, etc. which dont necessarily need medication to treat, but ALL need to be addressed quickly before the situation dives out of control.


    I have a question: Do you see anything wrong with a frum single male therapist treating a married woman his age? He destroyed my friends marriage yet has a very good name among the therapists! Is it possible to be safe from these evil therapists? How can you expect people to trust these strangers with their lives? It’s very frightening! In extreme situations they must go, but only to one recommended by a rav with years of dealing with the therapist! I think people tend to trust therapist because of his degree! This is a goyishe attitude!

    Max Well

    “Do you see anything wrong with a frum single male therapist treating a married woman his age?”

    Jewish courage:

    I see everything wrong with it. And not just yichud itself.


    I think there should be a push for people in our community to get the mental help that they need. Because of stigma and nosiness no one gets the help that they need- pple dont want thier children’s shidduchim getting affected and a myriad of other things. People have to grow up and notice that mental health issues dont heal on their own- pple need medication and help in order to get well.

    Ben Levi

    Jewish Courage,

    I would think that a phycologist in many ways should be compared to a teacher.

    It is prohibited for an unmarried man to teach children because of the fear he may develop a relationship with the mothers who bring them to school (Even HaEzer Siman Chuf Beis) while there is some disscussion about when this halacha is applicable nowadays where we have school buses, I would think it would be quite logucal to infer that it is of sourse prohibited for an unmarried man to expressly treat an adult married woman especially since treatment usually nessacitates building a relationship.


    Unfortunately, people do not do enough research before picking a doctor and some just pick a name from a list provided by their insurance company because they sound Jewish. It is unfortunate that since a “patient” is so upset and in need of help and support they do not feel in control of the situation and do not think that THEY have the right to interview the therapist. In reality, at the first appointment they should ask questions of the therapist such as where he went to school, when he graduated, who his Rav is, if he is married, if he has a family, etc. You can then discuss what you found out with your Rav, spouse, best friend, or sister (not ALL) or maybe even your family doctor and decide if the Therapist is the right fit for you.

    I don’t believe that a single person, maie of female is qualified to give marriage counseling no matter the age. Just because they learned how to counsel a couple in school, they still need personal experience to understand the sensitivity they need when it comes to real live actual couples.

    Having said that, a patient has the onus to understand if the therapist is a good match for them or not, and if it is working for them or not. You do not have to stick with the therapist you start with if you don’t see that their advice is working for you or if you don’t feel that you are making progress. Certainly not if it is detrimental to your progress. DON’T blame the therapist when the client themselves are not forced to go there, they do have a choice.

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