Therapy—What, When, Why, Who, How?

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It’s been awhile since I’ve hit you guys with a blog, so I figure I may as well, in Sami-fashion, dive deep to get back into it.

As many of you may know, I’ve been seeing a therapist consistently for about 2 years now. When I was younger, I was forced to see counselors left and right. If I had to guess, I was forced into talking to some type of counselor at least 10 times, and each of those times I came and went without saying one word. My approach was to go in and basically act mute. Haha! Sometimes I look back and feel bad for the therapists, having to deal with my rebellious ass. And on a more serious note, I mostly feel bad for myself. Every time I came and went, I gained nothing, but I potentially missed an opportunity that could have shifted some of the most impactful years of my life. I was closed off to it for several reasons, reasons that people of all ages remain closed off to it, reasons that I completely understand and emphasize with.

Some of the thoughts that went through my head, and probably yours, too, went along these lines…

“People that go to therapy have something wrong with them.”

“If I go therapy, someone is going to tell me I have something wrong with me, try to diagnose me, and put me on medication that changes who I am.”

“If I go to therapy, people will know and they’ll judge me for it. Even the therapist could judge me.”

“I don’t have anything wrong with me and there’s nothing in my life that I can’t fix on my own. I don’t need a stranger analyzing my life and giving me unfounded advise.”

I can go on and on.

Here is my public service announcement / bottom line up front:

EVERY SINGLE PERSON CAN BENEFIT FROM THERAPY. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE ANY MENTAL ILLESS TO SEE A THERAPIST.

Early 2017, I went to my first therapy session. And I say my first therapy session because it was the first time I went with an open and willing mind, with the genuine desire to better myself and give the therapist a chance.

I cannot explain in words the deep sense of gratitude I have for this woman. She has been one of the most positively influential people throughout my 25 years of life, and I can honestly tell you that I would not be who I am in this moment without her, and the work that we’ve done together. I’ve had friends and family members talk to me and tell me about the growth and the changes they’ve witnessed in me (if you’re reading this, please know that means the f*cking world to me) and I tell them, I owe that to therapy.

Could I have done the work on my own? Maybe, but I think what I’ve done in 2 short years would’ve taken me triple that.

So, what is therapy?

It is process, between client and therapist, which is aimed at resolving behaviors, beliefs, emotions, relationship issues, and anything else that has proven to be problematic in your life. I know that you can simply google this and find your own answers, so I’m speaking from my personal knowledge and experience. Therapy, for me, has had a lot to do with diving deep into my past. I had a traumatic childhood, and that translated to so many issues in my teenage and adult life. I’ve had to revisit ugly places, process things that happened that I had previously tried to block out, identify toxic thinking patterns and perspectives and then work hard as hell to change them, come to guided realizations, learn healthy coping mechanisms, and so much more.

When do you go to therapy?

I say, if you’ve considered going, you should go. If you clicked into this post, you should go. If you haven’t considered it, you should start considering it.

Most importantly, you go when you decide that you will enter that room with an open mind.

I went to therapy when I realized that it was time for me to embrace my past, as well as my present, so that I could create a future to look forward to. I went when I realized I wanted it more than I feared it. I went when I committed to having an open mind and a willing heart.

Why go to therapy?

You go when you decide you want to better yourself, and you understand that you might not be able to do it all on your own.

I went to therapy because I knew there were things I couldn’t resolve on my own, and there were things I didn’t even know yet that I’d need to resolve. I knew the type of woman I wanted to be, the type of mother I wanted to be, the type of wife I wanted to be, the type of friend, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, and HUMAN I wanted to be. I knew that I had a purpose and that to fulfill that purpose, I needed to be the best version of myself possible. I knew that resentment, envy, jealousy, hatred, animosity, greed, impatience, chronic fatigue and emotional distress, shame, guilt, anger, the list goes on, HAD a place in my life but did not have a place in my future. To the very core of my being, I just wanted to do and be better.

Who do I go to?

This is arguably one of the hardest steps, because finding a therapist that’s right for YOU will determine the success of your process. Not every therapist is the same, not every therapist is the right one for you, and not every therapist has your best interest in mind. Just like there are “bad” recruiters in the military, or “bad” men in the world, there are those who fit the criteria for “bad” in every job, position or title, however I do believe those are the minority in this field.

Look up therapists in the area, or therapists that your insurance covers if necessary, and look at their reviews. Look at their profile if they have a website or a bio. And then make an appointment. Go to the appointment. If you found that you did not connect with the therapist in the slightest, then try a new one. I do recommend trying at least two sessions before deciding that a therapist isn’t for you, but it might take one to know it and that’s fine. Leave, feeling just as hopeful and confident that you will find one that works.

I truly believe that my therapist is one of the best in her field, and have recommended her to friends who have gone and loved her. So, for those in the Orlando area, here is her information should you decide you’d like to try her out:

Elizabeth Havens (407) 832-8175

You can google her, call or text.

How do I go? How does it begin?

I pretty much already answered the first question, so let me tell you how it begins…

It begins with a conversation. They all have different techniques, I assume, but it simply begins by talking and getting to know each other. Many therapists will tell you a little about themselves so that you feel a little less awkward. You tell them what led you in, and they’ll either let you guide the conversation as long as you want, or guide it themselves. And the rest is up to you.

My friends, I wanted to write this because I know there are so many people who have considered, and really wanted to go to therapy but even the times they’ve gotten close, they back out last minute. I understand the stigmas associated with mental illness, therapy, anything concerning the topics… but let me say, those need to be expired, and that will only happen when we can talk openly and normalize it. And we should, because so many of us are suffering silently with a smiling face painted on. And we don’t have to. There is nothing wrong with you if you go to therapy. In my eyes, it demonstrates that you are brave and committed to growth. We all deserve to live our best lives, as cliche as that sounds. We deserve happiness, security, hope, confidence, to love ourselves, to be able to receive love and connect with others, to turn every painful experience into an opportunity to help someone else. I’m ranting now, and that’s because I could go on and on with amazing things to say about therapy and why I think YOU should go, but I hope I’ve said enough.

If you have ANY questions at all, I would love for you to reach out to me about them.

I hope that if you’ve been considering it, this was that little push that you needed. Remember, if you’re looking for a sign – that IS the sign.

Xx,

Your diagnosed-anxiety-&-depressed-therapy-going-blogging-friend-who-loves-people-and-loves-life,

Sami

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