How High Achievers Can Prioritize Mental Wellbeing

This month we’re highlighting mental health in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. Licensed therapist Erica Basso, LFMT breaks down common barriers high achievers might face when managing their mental health and the avenues of mental health support for high achievers.


It’s amazing to see how much progress society has made in embracing mental health discussions. Yet, as a mental health provider, I see the gaps in our knowledge surrounding accurate mental health information. We can all work on recognizing signs of mental health struggles and feeling empowered in seeking support when needed.

As a licensed psychotherapist and the founder of a modern therapy practice here in sunny California, I specialize in helping high-achieving women conquer anxiety, perfectionism, and relationship challenges. Through my work, I’ve come to understand that even the most successful, high-performing individuals can face inner battles that aren’t always visible on the surface.

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I’m eager to chat about the common hurdles that might keep high-achievers from seeking therapy. If any of the barriers mentioned resonate with you please see what I’d advise as a licensed mental health provider.

Stigma Surrounding Seeking Support

If you identify as a high-achieving woman you may associate asking for help as admitting to failure or weakness. This fear of being judged may lead to resistance to entering therapy, even when it is necessary.

If this sounds like you, I’d invite you to work through any fear that receiving support will go against your self-image of being strong, competent, or self-sufficient. As a therapist, I always emphasize that asking for help is smart and takes courage, both strengths and assets to have as a person. As a high-achiever, it’s important to hold yourself accountable to meeting your goals and committing to therapy can help you meet more of your goals in life with less stress. 

Finding The Time + Affordable Support

As a high-achiever life can sometimes feel like a juggling act of the various roles you play in life. To keep up you may prioritize professional goals over personal well-being. It’s true therapy is an investment of both your time and money and you may believe committing to therapy feels like just one more thing on your to-do list, but the benefits will extend far beyond the immediate moment.

If this is a concern holding you back from beginning therapy, I’ll offer a different perspective. It may be helpful to think of therapy as the one timeslot in your week that isn’t for doing or achieving, but rather for space to slow down and focus on what you need to feel well and perform your best in the long run. The gains of prioritizing one hour a week for therapy can help you develop new stress-reducing skills and learn to be more efficient with your time in the long run. In terms of cost of investment, make the most of your insurance coverage by seeking out a therapist who is within your plan’s network. Additionally, if you have any out-of-network mental health benefits your therapist can provide receipts that you submit for reimbursement from your insurance. Our practice accepts many insurance plans and our associate therapists offer a sliding scale fee. 

Overcoming Cultural or Familial Beliefs 

It can be common in some cultures and families to have strong taboos against discussing mental health issues or seeking professional help. If you grew up with this influence you may feel pressure to conform to these beliefs out of fear of how the family may react if they find out you received professional support. Unfortunately, as a therapist, I see the lack of support from family or friends who view therapy negatively as a number one contributor that discourages individuals from seeking the support they deserve.

I want everyone to know that legally licensed therapists are held to laws and ethics that honor their client’s rights to confidentiality. This means that no one has the right to know about the treatment you seek unless you tell them. If you don’t tell them, they will never find out.  It can be hard to do such a vulnerable thing alone, but just know that therapists are there to meet you where you are. Any good therapist will create a safe space by demystifying the process of therapy and helping you process any biases you may hold about therapy or mental health due to family or cultural influences at the onset of sessions.

Fear of Being Vulnerable

It can be difficult to imagine yourself feeling comfortable enough to be vulnerable and open up about private information to a stranger. You’ve likely been independent and self-sufficient from a young age so it’s normal to have doubts regarding how a stranger would understand you or have the skills to help you. High-achievers get into thought patterns around thinking they should be able to handle it all on their own and that their problems aren’t as big as other people’s because they are successful.

As a therapist, I like to honor the strengths of self-reliance and independence and what they have allowed an individual to do. However, just because you’ve been self-sufficient until now doesn’t mean you have to continue to be. The downside to relying too much on yourself is that you can feel isolated and lonely in your experience. In therapy, the fit between therapist and client (rapport) is a main indicator of successful therapy outcomes due to feeling witnessed, heard, and seen in the safety of the therapy container. It definitely can take a few sessions with a therapist or a few different therapists to get the right match, but keep at it because it’s worth it.

About the Author

Erica Basso is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (114828) practicing statewide in California. She helps high-achieving women overcome anxiety, perfectionism, relationship challenges, and more. She is also the founder of a group therapy practice. To learn more about working with her or one of her therapists, visit

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