Belated Happy New Year!
I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been super busy with my new job and getting to know my team. I’ve also had my hands full working through my latest depressive anxiety-ridden episode. The good news is with the help of my amazing new therapist, I’m feeling better than I have in years.
To celebrate my new found appreciation for the being the empath that I am and all of the joy and pain that comes with it, here are my tips for finding the right therapist.
- Determine your needs -Think about what’s bothering you. Are there traumatic experiences in your life present or past that are affecting your health? Do you have a preference for gender, race, age? Now is not the time for political correctness. You’re in charge of your healing and you have a right to decide who assists you with this journey.
- Read the reviews – This is very important but also take the reviews with a grain of salt. Far too often that we humans tend to only report negative experiences, so be sure you read several reviews. Also check your local mental health board and look up the therapist on psychologytoday.com or healthgrades.com. You’ll be able to see their education history and other pertinent information about their practice.
- Call and speak with them about their services and specialties – Initially browsing their website is very helpful. You can usually find out about their services and general office policies. I would also give them a call rather than making your first appointment online. This will give you an opportunity to ask any specific questions that you may have about their hours of operation and the most important question… are they accepting new patients. In my case, my therapist doesn’t offer weekend appointments and only offers evening appointments one day a week. For some that may be a deal breaker, it is a challenge for me and appointments do require some schedule maneuvering on my part, but she’s what I need.
- Listen to the energy in the room – When you arrive feel the energy in the space. Is the office calming or chaotic? How does it smell? How were you greeted? How did you feel during the session? Were you relieved when your session ended or did you feel like you needed more time? On your way home consider all of these things. Listen to your feelings, head, and heart.
- Remember that therapists aren’t magicians – I will say this again for the people in the balcony: therapists ARE NOT magicians. Their role is to support you in your healing process but they cannot heal you. Their support lies in the questions they ask, the assignments they may provide, their listening ear, and other methods. Therapy is a partnership and you must dig deep and do your work.
- Therapists are like shoes, keep looking until you find the right fit. Don’t quit on the first try – Would you stop wearing shoes because the first pair you bought were too small or hurt your feet? The answer is no. It’s disappointing and frustrating, I know. It took me a number of years and two other therapists before I found my perfect fit. If your feet are worth a second, third or eighteenth try then your mental health should be just as important.
There may be other factors to take into consideration to meet your specific needs, but these are the major items that have helped me find my perfect fit. To those of you out there struggling, please know you are not alone and there is a perfect fit for you as well. In the meantime, please don’t isolate yourself. Talk to someone; a friend, a family member, or even clergy. You have more people fighting for you than you know, including me.
“My dark days made me strong. Or maybe I already was strong, and they made me prove it.” -Emery Lord