Do You Want to Find the Best Therapist for You?

4 SIMPLE  TIPS TO FIND THE RIGHT THERAPIST The past few weeks I have talked about why therapy is so important for our emotional health. If reading this blog has made you think….Hmm, maybe I WOULD benefit from talking to someone,  then this post is for you.     1) PAY ATTENTION TO HOW YOU…

Show Notes

4 SIMPLE  TIPS TO FIND THE RIGHT THERAPIST

The past few weeks I have talked about why therapy is so important for our emotional health. If reading this blog has made you think….Hmm, maybe I WOULD benefit from talking to someone,  then this post is for you.

 

 

1) PAY ATTENTION TO HOW YOU FEEL

Researching therapists online will find a breadth of modalities of treatment but may still leave you wondering what is right for me?

It’s just my opinion, but I believe THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THERAPY IS THE RELATIONSHIP.  

This means you must feel connected to your therapist, similar to any other relationship in your life. What research tells us is that the modality of the therapy is not necessarily the most healing component, because it’s the relationship that helps heal.  

That being said, your therapist should have some framework from which they work.  You may know some of the terms; psychoanalysis, cognitive behavioral therapy, systems therapy, there are 100’s more.  When you talk with a therapist you can ask them how they view emotional health and how they work with patients.  While each person who comes into a therapist’s office is different, generally therapists SHOULD have a framework in which they understand issues.  

2.) GET A GOOD REFERRAL

While it can be hard to open up and share that you might be seeking therapy, like any situation, it can be very useful to get a referral from someone who you know.  If you have a friend in therapy who seems to be making changes in his or her life, ask for the therapist’s referral list.  Your primary care physician can also be a great source for referrals as they have an extensive network. If their patients have had success with a therapist, it is likely the physician has an arsenal of names (make sure you ask your physician if they think it would be a good fit).

3. DON’T BE AFRAID TO SWITCH

If you meet with a therapist and it doesn’t feel right, pay attention to that feeling.  I always tell my patients, if this doesn’t feel like the right fit then let me know and let me help you find a better match.  Therapy is a deep relationship, so if you don’t feel like this is someone with whom you can share some pretty personal stuff and not feel judged or shamed for it, then it isn’t the right therapist for you.

4. CHECK WITH YOUR INSURANCE

Most insurance covers therapy, although not all therapists take insurance.  Make sure you ask this question before you go and call your insurance company to confirm.  If you don’t have insurance, there are a lot of community mental health centers with extremely qualified therapists that can see you at a reduced fee.  Always ask, some therapists in private practice will also see you at a reduced fee.   

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Are You Saving Enough Money for THIS?

SAVING FOR YOUR CHILD’S EMOTIONAL FUTURE I have a little joke with myself and friends.  When we talk about saving for our children’s future I always say, “I have their college savings, and the other jar—the one for their therapy.”  People often laugh. I can tell they get a little uncomfortable at the thought that…

Show Notes

SAVING FOR YOUR CHILD’S EMOTIONAL FUTURE

I have a little joke with myself and friends.  When we talk about saving for our children’s future I always say, “I have their college savings, and the other jar—the one for their therapy.”  People often laugh. I can tell they get a little uncomfortable at the thought that “their child” might ever need therapy, as if in some way that is a reflection on them as a person or as a failure of a parent.

Here’s the deal, sometimes it is a reflection on them (which is not necessarily the worst thing) but sometimes it’s not.   You could have an idyllic childhood or one wroght with trauma, heartache and pain.

The bottom line is this: if you are human, you have experienced trials and tribulations.  For some people life is easier than for others. At some point your child will likely experience something that throws them for a loop; it might be a death, a breakup, a C on their first exam.  It might be rape or illness or just feeling lost and a bit disconnected.Somehow, as parents, we have lost our way in terms of protecting our children.

Of course, as parents it is our job to protect our children, but what are we protecting them from? That’s the real question.

Angela Duckworth, a psychologist who has conducted research on success has shown that “grit is one factor that leads to achievement.”  While we cannot induce situations that present obstacles for our children, we also cannot remove the obstacles when they get in our child’s way.

We can guide them to maneuver over or around obstacles. However, we are doing a tremendous disservice to pick them up and carry them so they don’t have to experience pain.  It seems it’s become our parenting philosophy – that if our children feel pain then we have failed to protect them – which has become job description #1.

I can tell you with confidence that allowing our children to feel pain and to sit with them in that pain is the best thing we can do for our kids.  

I can also tell you that even though I sit with people in their pain everyday, when it is your own child it is INCREDIBLY painful.  But honestly, this is what our children want and need.  I will often ask my daughter when she is talking to me about a situation at school, “Do you want me to try to help you fix this or just listen?”  9 times out of 10 she says, “just listen” and it’s tough.

My hope in doing this, is that she will recognize that I can tolerate her pain and hopefully she will learn that this too will pass.
I hope she will also learn that there are people who can listen to her. If it not me, then hopefully, I have given her the skills and ability to know when she needs to ask someone else for help. That person just might be a therapist.

Does that mean I failed as a parent because my child or children need therapy? I choose to believe it means I was successful enough to show my children that there are other people out there who can help.So, the take-home here is start saving for your child’s therapy today,  I promise, your kids will need it (and maybe even thank you for it).  

Connection challenge:  Sign up for my blog post and get my weekly connection challenges.  Many of these are ideas taken out of sessions with my patients.  

A Wildly Transformative Discovery About Therapy–From the Therapist who Tried it

My Perspective from BOTH Sides of the Couch “It all becomes beautiful when you know yourself”-Unknown This was the quote I saw every Wednesday at 12:55 pm for almost 7 years.  Where did I go every Wednesday for 7 years at the same time you wonder? That’s easy: therapy, where else?  But, I hesitated sharing…

Show Notes

My Perspective from BOTH Sides of the Couch

“It all becomes beautiful when you know yourself”-Unknown

This was the quote I saw every Wednesday at 12:55 pm for almost 7 years.  Where did I go every Wednesday for 7 years at the same time you wonder? That’s easy: therapy, where else?  But, I hesitated sharing this…

As a therapist, I was trained to be “a blank slate.”  Patients come to us and project their wishes, fantasies and desires, and as the theory goes (simplified of course), it is our job to help them make their unconscious conscious.

Knowing about your therapist has the potential to muddy those waters.(Again, this is the type of therapy I was trained to practice. I am not suggesting this is the only therapy or the only one that works, hence why I am writing this post.)  Therefore, if I shared with the world (and I am sure at some point a patient or future patient will read this), then they will know… I have been in therapy.

“So what? Who cares!”  you say, and honestly that’s what I say now too!  As a therapist if I cannot proudly proclaim I have been in therapy (for a long time – 7 years was my last stint), then why should anyone trust me?I know the process of therapy from both sides of the couch.  I know what it feels like to be open and raw and vulnerable and scared with someone who I know very little about.

I know what it feels like to sit on the other side of the couch and have someone feel that way with me.  I can honestly say I truly understand each of those feelings.

I know the circumstances are always different, and why someone is in therapy is different than my reasons for going.

What I can tell you definitively is that the changes I experienced were transformative and life changing.  And, I have seen similar changes be transformative and life changing for others.  Therefore, I am not truly doing my part in helping people if I shy away from talking about it.

I am realistic too.  I know that therapy is not for everyone.  I know that some people think it’s a waste of time and money, and everyone deserves their own opinion on the topic.

That said, think of how much time you invest in everyone else in your life.  Think about the time you invest in your friends; the dinners, the calls, walks, however you spend the time getting to know them.

Think about the time you invest in your partner or people with whom you have thought about possibly being a partner, only to get to know them and realize it is not the right fit.

Think about the time you have invested in your family, taking care of your parents, siblings or children.

Now think about the time you have invested in yourself.  How much time have you actually sat with yourself?  How much time have you taken to get to know who you really are?  Because once you do, I can promise you… “It all becomes beautiful … when you know yourself.”

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THERAPY: GO FOR THE CRISIS, STAY FOR THE GROWTH

“Everything is great and THAT is why I am here!” Said nobody ever when they walked through my office door. Nor do they claim, “I want to learn more about myself and continue on this path!!” Typically, crisis is what brings us to therapy when we can no longer continue with our own status quo. Usually, you…

Show Notes

“Everything is great and THAT is why I am here!” Said nobody ever when they walked through my office door. Nor do they claim, “I want to learn more about myself and continue on this path!!”

Typically, crisis is what brings us to therapy when we can no longer continue with our own status quo.

Usually, you can recognize a symptom.  Maybe it is anxiety and we are having difficulty breathing. Perhaps a panic attack resulted in a hospital visit and then no medical reason is determined.  These people often find themselves on my couch.

Sometimes, it is sleepless nights, difficulty eating or concentrating. These are also ways your body might be telling you there is a crisis and you better listen.

These situations may bring us to a therapist’s couch for crisis control. To get through the crisis we must reduce anxiety or the depression, we work to resolve the loss or understand and process trauma. Then, we have a choice:  to leave or keep working.

I get that some people may disagree (especially insurance companies).  But when we stop working on ourselves, we stop growing, and when we stop growing, we stop living.  

In my experience, the best therapy, the most productive therapy, happens just beyond the crisis when you can reflect on what brought you there in the first place.  What warning signs did you miss that could have prevented you from a hospital visit, from drinking more than you should, from not being able to get out of bed in the morning?

Could you have asked for help before the crisis? SURE.

Does it have to get to that point before you ask for help?

The answer to that is a resounding: NO.

If we can tune in and listen to ourselves (meditation is a great way to do this), if even for a moment, we can hear when our life is no longer within our control.

So what is the benefit of talking things out?

While this is not a quick fix, the power of healing happens through being seen, heard, understood. Then you can be challenged to move out of your “stuckness” to a place where life feels like it is back on track and headed in the right direction.

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