Despite being a recipient of services in the mental health world for more than half my life, I haven’t always had a good experience with therapists and psychiatrists.
Many people are surprised when they hear that because they know I studied psychology, worked in a psychiatric rehabilitation center with providers, and have been an active participant in my own mental health for likely as long as they’ve known me.
The truth is, not everyone is a fit for everyone else. Sometimes it’s that simple, and sometimes we don’t know exactly what we want or what we deserve, so we don’t know how to ask for what we do or don’t want.
These days, I’m proud to say that I have an amazing therapist who I would recommend to almost anyone (the almost qualifier only being that you are willing to do work and logistically work in terms of insurance, etc.), and when I hear my therapist tell me that she’s proud of me, I get a specific kind of pride I don’t really get anywhere else.
The more I learned to love myself, the more I realized what it was that I wanted in a therapist. Picking mine was a literally one and done exercise. I never imagined it would be that simple, and it’s only gotten better with time, trust, and rapport.
I love the way my therapist is so flexible with what my needs are, not just with scheduling, but with what I want or need to focus on. Our goals can change within a session, and it makes sense because we’re both on board.
Therapy, of any kind, really only works if you are willing to not only do the work, but to be open, honest, and vulnerable. Providers can’t know what you’re doing or thinking unless you tell them. It helps so much that I feel so comfortable and that every week she approaches me without judgment, but compassion.
Finding a therapist now can sound even more difficult than usual, but sites like BetterHelp.com make it incredibly easy to narrow down your desires and find the ideal therapist for you. And let’s face it, this is probably the best time to have a therapist, right? I also never want to go back to office visits. Therapy in my pajamas where I can cry and go back to bed is actually what I’ve been waiting for my entire life.
You can also find people who are specifically trained to help you with your unique experiences. For example, my therapist works specifically with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and specializes in trauma. There are even specialties out there you might not be aware of that could help you in ways you never dreamed of, like Cognitive Neuroscience Therapy which is basically linking up how we behave and think mixes in with our brain activity. Did you know that existed? It’s fascinating and something I want to look into more with my Tourette’s Syndrome.
Honestly, I hope everyone tries therapy, at least for a little while. Therapy never means there’s something wrong with you or you’re broken. It means you want to feel as good as possible, and having someone else help you makes it so much easier. I can also promise you, that having someone you like help you makes all the difference.