Nairobi News

Must ReadWhat's Hot

10 reasons why we shy from therapy

By Winnie Onyando February 24th, 2024 3 min read

Therapy, a cornerstone of mental health support, remains elusive for many due to entrenched misconceptions and societal stigmas.

Despite the growing prevalence of mental health challenges in Kenya, a significant portion of the population hesitates to seek professional help, opting instead to confide in familiar circles.

This reluctance stems from various factors, including perceived notions that therapy is inaccessible or reserved for specific demographics.

Below are some of the reasons that lead many people to avoid seeking therapy even in situations of mental health distress:


Despite efforts to reduce mental health stigma, it remains pervasive in many societies. People may fear being labeled as “crazy” or “weak” if they seek therapy, leading to social ostracization or discrimination.

This fear of judgment can prevent individuals from seeking the help they need, even when struggling with significant mental health issues.

Perceived weakness

There is a cultural expectation in some societies that individuals should be able to handle their problems independently.

Seeking therapy may be seen as admitting defeat or an inability to cope with life’s challenges, leading individuals to avoid it to maintain a facade of strength or self-reliance.

Cultural beliefs

Cultural norms and beliefs play a significant role in shaping attitudes towards mental health and help-seeking behaviors. In some cultures, mental health issues may be stigmatized or seen as a personal failing rather than a legitimate health concern.

This can discourage individuals from seeking therapy and instead rely on traditional healing practices or informal support networks within their community.


Therapy sessions can be prohibitively expensive for many people, especially those without adequate insurance coverage or financial resources.

The high cost of therapy can create a barrier to access, leaving those who need it most unable to afford treatment.

Fear of vulnerability

Opening up to a therapist requires individuals to confront their deepest emotions and vulnerabilities, which can be uncomfortable and intimidating.

Some people may fear being judged or misunderstood by their therapist, leading them to avoid therapy to protect themselves from perceived emotional risk.

Lack of awareness

Despite growing awareness of mental health issues, many people still lack knowledge about the benefits of therapy or may hold misconceptions about what therapy entails.

This lack of awareness can lead individuals to overlook therapy as a viable option for improving their mental health and instead rely on less effective coping strategies.

Previous negative experiences

Negative portrayals of therapy in media or stories of ineffective or harmful therapy experiences can deter individuals from seeking treatment.

Past negative experiences, whether personal or observed, can create a sense of distrust or skepticism towards therapy as a helpful intervention.

Limited access

in some regions, particularly rural or underserved areas, there may be a shortage of mental health professionals or therapy services.

Limited access to therapy can make it difficult for individuals to seek treatment, even if they recognize the need for help.

Coping mechanisms

Some individuals may rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse or avoidance, to deal with their problems instead of seeking therapy.

These maladaptive coping strategies may provide temporary relief but can exacerbate mental health issues in the long run.


Denial is a common defense mechanism used to avoid confronting uncomfortable truths or acknowledging the severity of one’s mental health issues.

Some individuals may downplay or dismiss their symptoms, convincing themselves that they don’t need therapy or that their problems will resolve on their own.

This denial can delay or prevent individuals from seeking the help they need to address their mental health concerns.

Also read: Elsa Majimbo swaps Naomi Cambell for Beyonce

How to verify your PayPal account for remote work opportunities in Kenya