If you’ve been a reader for a while, you’ve probably read my story. If so, you know that I’ve had my share of ups and downs dealing with depression, anxiety, and some difficult times. Although the last several years have been some of the happiest and most productive of my life and getting healthy was the best thing I ever did for my emotional well-being as well as my physical well-being, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t still benefit from speaking with someone.
Depression is cyclical in nature and the vast majority of the time if you experience it once, chances are you will experience at least mild symptoms again. This is true of many mental health and emotional issues.
With or without symptoms of depression or anxiety, I personally benefit a great deal from talking to someone who can ask me the tough questions, someone who is trained in asking those questions and looking for emerging patterns and what they might mean. I have friends I can talk to about how I’m feeling, but there’s great benefit for me in speaking to someone whose primary concern for the hour that I speak to them is what’s going on in my life and helping me tease it apart.
I’ve seen a few different therapists since I was a freshman in college and got very lucky that I was matched with some great clinicians, especially since I didn’t choose them and each one was provided to me by the school I was attending. Now that I have health insurance again it was important to me to not only get back in therapy, but to find a good fit; I want to make sure that this therapy experience is one that will be most beneficial to me.
For that reason, I’m trying out a few different people before I make a final decision. Prior to scheduling the multiple appointments, I contacted my insurance to make sure that I would have coverage for multiple appointments in one week. That’s another area in which I’m really lucky and I’m able to expedite this process over the course of just a week or two.
Regardless of training, licensing, and years of experience, not every therapist is for every person. I learned that not only as a client, but when I was working as a therapist in training. It’s the same way in personal training — there are some clients who just won’t benefit as much from my style of training as from someone else’s style of training, and vice versa.
Each of the therapists I’ve seen so far knows that I’m checking out multiple people and looking to make a decision based on who is best for me. Each of them has agreed that it’s a really great decision to “shop around” so to speak.
Entering therapy for the first time or re-entering after a hiatus is a big decision. A lot of people assume that starting therapy will immediately make things feel better. A lot of times it can bring up a lot of unresolved and complicated emotions. Sometimes things can feel a lot harder before they feel better. But then they will feel better. Solutions will be discovered. Emotions and thinking patterns will be sorted out.
It’s a big decision and it’s most beneficial when it’s a decision a person makes for him or herself, but therapy really and truly does help. If you’re feeling sad, anxious, “stuck” where you are, dissatisfied, out of control, or even just not really sure what you’re feeling, my recommendation is that you at least give therapy a shot. If you try it out and hate the experience, remember that it could be totally different with a different therapist.
Shop around, treat each initial appointment like a job interview. Don’t just hand over your emotional vulnerability to someone with whom you don’t click or whose style makes you feel uncomfortable. There is great value in letting someone in to help you sort things out, but that doesn’t have to be the very first person to whom you tell your story.
If you have questions about finding a therapist or beginning the process of starting therapy, please always feel free to reach out. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m happy to hear your story and share more of mine.