Let’s dig a little deeper today…
The term “self care” has really blown up these days. I see it on covers of magazines, articles online and even on the news. It makes me really sad that the idea of taking care of yourself has only recently become a thing. It’s this tragic delay in encouragement of being right within ourselves that results in stigma.
Those of you who know me well, know that I wholeheartedly believe in Therapy. Talk Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Physical Therapy, Social Workers, Counseling, all of those things. (Not just because I married a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I swear!) I believe everyone needs someone to talk to. Someone who’s an unbiased observer of your side of every story, who validates your feelings and emotions and helps you feel better about any multitude of things. Everyone needs a therapist. Hell, I even believe that therapists need therapists!
I’m all about sharing my therapy experiences with people and I’m most definitely hurt by the stigma that is placed on people (not just in this country, but ALL OVER THE WORLD) who have mental health issues. Did you know that 1 in 4 people suffers from a mental health issue in this world we live in today? You see that family of four sitting at the table next to you? Yeah, one of them, at least, is suffering. You see that car full of people? One or more of them are struggling. Take a walk down your street, did you pass a few people? At least two are having difficulty attempting to live what we deem a “normal” life.
This is why it’s so incredibly vital for people to see someone! Let’s make a few things ABUNDANTLY CLEAR:
No, this doesn’t mean you’re broken. Yes, there’s hope!
No, this doesn’t mean you’re a flawed human being. Yes, you’re deserving of happiness or some semblance of normalcy.
No, you’re not alone. Yes, chances are, you’ll probably learn that the people you thought we most normal, are also struggling!
No, this doesn’t mean you’re less than. Yes, the first step is admitting something is wrong, right?
You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Where is this coming from, Angela?” Whelp, let me tell you! We’re living in a new place, and though I had my therapist in Florida for more than 3 years, and I love her to death, and she knows so much about me it’s crazy. However, it’s unrealistic to think we can continue our sessions virtually in perpetuity. Thus: I’m on the hunt to find someone new here!
This brings me to my next point: It’s so incredibly important to find the right person to talk to. Yes, I know this means a bit of work, but it’s SO worth it! So let’s lay it out in 4 easy steps:
- You’ve got to search for one. (I suggest www.psychologytoday.com as a great starting point – You can search by zip code, insurance plans, and specialties such as “anxiety”, “depression”, “domestic abuse” or “teens” and if you must, you can even weed them out by their pictures, because let’s be real, we’re a superficial society) If your search turns up too many results, narrow it, be more picky, lest you become overwhelmed and quit on the first step! Once you have 2 to 4 you ‘like’, proceed to step 2.
- Dust off the telephone function on your smart phone (because who actually calls people anymore?) and call each one! Let them know that you’d like to set up an appointment, I like to use the term “To see if we’re a good fit.” You might run into an obstacle, where the one you’ve picked out isn’t taking new clients, don’t be deterred! Thank them, and call the next one! Make appointments with as many as you can of the ones you’ve narrowed down. You’re almost there, let’s head to step 3!
- Be punctual to your appointment, you may have to fill out paperwork. Once you’re settled in, take a few moments to be conscious about the environment. What kinds of books and things occupy their shelves? What kinds of seating do they offer? Do you feel comfortable? Do you feel at ease? Do they take notes? By hand or on a computer? Do you feel they are paying attention? Is he/she ‘hearing’ you (not just listening, but actually hearing what you’re saying)? Do you feel good about the dialogue in your appointment? Be sure to schedule another appointment with each one, because you still haven’t made a decision yet, and you can always call and cancel. It may be helpful to write a few notes down after each appointment so that you can keep each therapist straight in your brain. Repeat step 3 until you’ve made it to each appointment you’ve scheduled then move to step 4.
- Once you’ve visited them all: Evaluate! Which one made you feel the best? Listened and heard you? Understood you? Who were you the most comfortable with? After making your decision, be sure to call the others and cancel your follow ups, and let them know that you’ve “found a good fit elsewhere.” They’ll understand! And CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve found someone who will be a great partner in your quest to be the best YOU there is.
If you can conquer those four steps, you may very well turn things the exact direction you’re trying to go, and gain your own personal cheerleader in the process! Like I said, everyone needs someone. Go forth, make a really great decision for yourself!!!