Good morning, readers (or whatever time it is when and where you happen to be reading this). Today, I wanted to start a new series on this site, which will be Tuesday Therapy Notes. In this series, we will look at some of the topics and issues that are common in talk therapy, also called psychotherapy, which is one of the major tools that are available to help manage a mental illness. In this opening post, I wanted to just look at therapy in general.
Talk therapy is undertaken with a psychologist or psychiatrist typically. There are many different types, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR), exposure therapy, interpersonal therapy, mentalization-based therapy, and psychodynamic therapy. And in addition to the types of therapists and therapies listed above, some treatment programs include emotional support animals and therapy pets. All of these things are things that we’ll be discussing in coming weeks.
However, for this opening post, I wanted to simply talk about my experience finding a therapist and being in therapy. Finding a therapist can be an anxiety-inducing experience, which isn’t helpful if you are already struggling with anxiety issues. How long will you have to wait to get an appointment? Will your insurance cover it? Will you and your new therapist mesh? These were all concerns of mine each time I went looking for a new therapist.
And getting a therapist that doesn’t work for you can not only be frustrating, it can actually be a step back in your recovery. I had a therapist who I felt like was just running down a checklist instead of listening to me. Even after we got past her ‘checklist,’ she seemed incredibly judgmental of some of my decisions and of some the people in my life. And yes, she may have been justified in her opinions, but it nevertheless made me defensive, which set me back in my recovery.
Yet a good therapist can be a major step forward in your recovery. They can be someone to talk to, recognizing how stressors are impacting your mental illness, and gently correcting some of the not so awesome habits you might be having, habits which might be holding you back in your mental health recovery.
And what about all of you? What have your experiences with therapy been? I’d love to hear about some of the other experiences people have. So if you feel comfortable sharing, feel free to do so in the comment section below. And as always, thanks for reading.