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  • Alice Rossetter

Is it me or is absolutely EVERYONE in therapy?

When I first came to BA I was absolutely astounded to find that not only was everyone having psychotherapy but also they talked about it completely openly as if they were discussing going to the gym or the hairdresser. In the UK things are pretty different or at least they were when I lived there. There was still a lot of stigma attached to mental and emotional health issues which created a culture of silence that prevented people from talking about their suffering and how they cope.

In my opinion the BA way is clearly better. Pretty much everyone benefits from talking about mental health issues. But why is it so different here? In my experience people in Argentina take a more holistic view when considering their health. In the UK we consider our physical and mental health to be quite different and separate. Conversely here, almost every time I've been to the doctor about a physical illness I have been asked about my mental and emotional health. When I first arrived I had recurring stomach problems and I was extremely frustrated when the doctors I saw talked endlessly about the anxiety I must be experiencing adapting to the new culture (although I can see now that they were absolutely right).

Many fellow expats have told me that they have been surprised by similar experiences. As far as they were concerned they had booked a doctor's appointment to tackle a physical problem expecting to be sent for a blood test or given a prescription and instead came away with a recommendation to see a therapist. I think the sheer volume of people having therapy and the fact that it is recommended so often by medical doctors helps reduce the stigma and allows people to be more open.

But do all these people really need therapy? I've no idea! What I do know is that when discussing the situation with European and Argentine professionals we agreed that a lot of cases that the European therapists see on our side of the Atlantic are serious and/or chronic and probably would have benefited from being treated much earlier when the problem first presented itself. The real benefit is that here people tend to get help even before symptoms appear or very early on in their evolution which makes for a much better prognosis. Prevention really is much better than the cure.

So should you partake? There are many benefits to having therapy here rather than at home. You don't have to keep it a secret, you will have a wide variety of excellent professionals to choose from many of whom speak English and it will be considerably cheaper. If you do decide to take the plunge, tell someone, tell everyone. It'll help you and it'll probably help them too.

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