For people struggling with mental health issues, research shows talk therapy can really help—and in some cases, may be as effective as taking medication. But despite the powerful benefits therapy can provide, there is still a very real stigma attached. These nine celebs broke that taboo by speaking out about their own experiences. (If only they could make therapy more affordable too.) Read on to learn how counseling helped them with everything from anxiety to bipolar disorder, and self-expression to self-kindness.
“You do better in the gym with a trainer; you don’t figure out how to cook without reading a recipe. Therapy is not something to be embarrassed about.” —Good Housekeeping, April 2015
“Therapy helped me realize that maybe it’s okay for me to communicate my feelings. Instead of literally stuffing them down with food, maybe it’s okay for me to express myself.” —Essence, July 2007
“I don’t always have serious stuff to say. Sometimes I just sit there and think, ‘I want a sandwich’. Or, ‘I’m tired, I want a new scarf.’ But that’s just part of the process; paying someone to listen to you stammer until you find what’s really important…. Having a therapist has taught me to be less cruel to myself. It’s not like therapy has made me the world’s sanest person; it just made me slightly less insane.” —Stylist, October 2014
“[Therapy] has been such a great tool, and my therapist told me that I passed with flying colors, but we’ll see how things go.” —Glamour, November 2011
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“I’ve done therapy on an as-needed basis since I was probably 10 years old. My father was an alcoholic and a very abusive one, and my mother knew the value of providing me with the outlet of an unbiased person to talk to, so I’ve done that all my life when times get stressful. It really helps me deal with stuff.” —Hello!, March 2013
On the advice she’d give her 30-something self: “Go to therapy. Clean up all of the sh-t. Clean up all of the toxins and the noise. Understand who you are. Educate yourself on the self…. You can undo a lot of things. If you’re not happy, you can become happy. Happiness is a choice. That’s the thing I really feel.” —Glamour, July 2013
“Having people who are professionals as well and not relying on just one person is another key to maintaining a healthy recovery. I talk to my therapist.” —Huffington Post, June 2015
On her experience in therapy as a child: I wrote this book called I Am Bigger Than My Anxiety that I still have: I drew a little green monster on my shoulder that speaks to me in my ear and tells me all these things that aren’t true. And every time I listen to it, it grows bigger. If I listen to it enough, it crushes me. But if I turn my head and keep doing what I’m doing—let it speak to me, but don’t give it the credit it needs—then it shrinks down and fades away.” —Rolling Stone, December 2016
This article originally appeared in Health.