Mental Health: Finding The Right Therapist For You

Updated: Jan 28

First things first, we must b r e a k the s t i g m a around "ASKING FOR HELP." When Olivia and I were discussing this month's hot topic she spoke about, "The 10 lb. weight... picking up the phone and asking for help." This phrase is about how challenging it can be to take the first step in reaching out to speak with a therapist.

Step 1: Breaking the Stigma

Reaching out takes both courage and strength. We often have stigmas around the idea of meeting with a therapist. Here are things you might be saying to yourself if you are letting the stigma interfere with your chance at finding more freedom within your personal life.

I should be over this by now. It's been years.

My trauma is not that bad compared to others.

I'm just being dramatic. These panic attacks will go away.

I feel weak asking for help.

I don't want anyone to know I struggle with this.

I feel too broken.

What will others think?

As Olivia mentions in January's interview...if you are even thinking about looking into therapy it's likely an indicator you should pursue the idea further. Try to avoid judging yourself. There is no such thing as being "bad enough." Don't wait for a crisis. People can often do their best work before experiencing any trauma at all. There are also many levels of trauma both big and small. The scale of trauma can impact everyone differently.

Step Two: Picking Up the 10 lb. Phone

I can relate to this one. In fact, it took me years to pick up the phone. The irony is that picking up the single weight can in return help you release a backpack full of bricks. When you are ready to make the phone call you can research a therapist in your area. You may desire to meet with your therapist in person, but you also have the option for tele-health. You can access help from the comfort of your living room.

When looking for a therapist TRUST is important. Make a list of the therapist you'd like to pursue and then set up a consultation with those individuals. Typically you can call and do a quick free consultation to see if you feel comfortable with this person. Here are some good questions to ask prior to selecting your therapist.

What is your background?

What licenses do you have?

Do you have special training?

How do you think you could help me?

The right person will provide a safe and peaceful environment although you may feel uncomfortable at first being vulnerable. It is okay if you discover after a few sessions that your therapist may not be the best fit for you.

Step 3: Understanding the Different Types of Therapy

CBT ( Cognitive Behavior Therapy )

This technique is based on the idea that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all interrelated. Often this type of therapy is good for depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, etc. It has been known to help individuals recognize when their thoughts are affecting their present state. You can expect to be given tools or techniques to help you redirect your thought patterns.

DBT ( Dialectical Behavioral Therapy )

This technique is a form of CBT. It is often used to help identify and change negative thought patterns to propel positive changes in behavior. It can often help patients find ways to accept themselves, feel safe, and manage their emotions to help regulate potentially destructive or harmful behaviors. This type of therapy can often help with eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, mood imbalances, depression, personality disorders, ADHD, etc.

EMDR ( Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing )

This technique is used for people managing trauma. In fact, it was created to address PTSD. If your past is affecting the present you could benefit from this method. EMDR is broken up into phases to take a focused approach to treat both trauma and symptoms. This is done by creating a safe environment for you to reconnect with images, thoughts, emotions, or physical sensations within the body that are linked to your trauma. By reconnecting, your brain can begin enacting its healing powers by helping you move towards a resolution.

SOMATIC Experiential

We hold trauma and experiences in our bodies. This technique helps you find a resolution to the experiences you are having within your own body. This is often used for those suffering from chronic stomach aches, IBS, chronic headaches/migraines, nervous energy, etc. For somatic therapy, it is important to note that some of these techniques are more evidence-based than others. These are great questions to ask in the beginning phases of finding the therapist that is right for you.

Step 4: You can't Rush Your Healing

Realistically healing your inner being can take time. Here are some realistic time frames for seeing progress.

Short Term

8-12 weeks is a realistic time period if you are facing situational problems. This could include; time management, parenting, relationships, healthy communication, learning to manage stress, etc.

Long Term

If you are suffering from chronic symptoms you can expect to commit to 6+ months if you want to see real change in your personal life. This could include; confronting issues from your childhood, PTSD, abuse, destructive behavior, mood imbalances.

Just remember.... YOU CAN'T RUSH YOUR HEALING. Be gentle with yourself, honor your spirit, and provide your body with a safe place to thrive no matter what your past has forced you to survive.

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