Author: Natalia A. Besier
Therapy has benefitted my mental wellness journey by teaching me to reclaim my mental health “toolbox” by rethinking and restructuring my negative thoughts. I find that I benefit most from cognitive behavioral therapy and this focus causes me to feel better about the worst of situations and have less anxiety.
I find therapy to be most effective when I am in a most balanced state or when I am depressed. When I am experiencing mania or hypomania, it is difficult for me to listen and process, which makes therapy less fruitful.
I left a therapist that I had seen for eleven years because I had worked with him on a difficult topic in the past. Many years later I gravely failed in the same area, and knew that I would need intensive help to tackle this situation for good. That therapist was somewhat of a father figure and I felt as if I were to relive this situation with him that I would feel shamed and that he would be disappointed. I was even more afraid of the angst that he would likely display on his face.
I spoke to my psychiatrist about who he recommended as a replacement and he suggested someone that not only would see me on a sliding scale payment schedule, but was more cognitive behavior therapy focused, which has made all of the difference. Since seeing the new therapist, I have not relapsed with my issue in nearly four years, and I am hopeful that I will never again falter.
I need a soft spoken therapist that really listens and assists me in rethinking my negative thoughts. In my experience, a good therapist does not tell one what to do; he or she guides their client into the decision that is right for them.
One aspect of therapy that has been difficult to learn is that therapists are people that make mistakes, regardless of their credentials. I had therapist one time tell me that my OCD was “bizarre.” When I later told her how much she hurt me, she said, “I cannot always say the right thing.” And she could not; no one can.
I had a therapist at one point tell me what the “high road” would entail and how the “low road” would transpire. I explored both roads and found out that he was wrong. The “low road” ended up being the correct road for me, and my life has been better ever since.
Historically, I work better with a male therapist, as I tend to accept direction better from a man. However, my current therapist has a better grasp on cognitive behavioral therapy, which along with being the same religion makes us more like minded than my previous therapist. I find that if I am not continuously in therapy, where I go approximately every three weeks, I tend to get stuck in old patterns and the “shoulds” appear more rampantly.
Having a resourceful therapist is also important to me. For instance, my former psychiatrist retired and I had a difficult time finding someone new. She was able to link me with an appropriate resource. She also assisted me in getting into a better vascular surgeon what that was necessary. She is very knowledgeable about the social service sector, which makes legwork so much easier. I am blessed to have her!
Last but not least, you may need to shop for a therapist like you shop for shoes. Try out a few. Interview them like they interview you. Consider educating yourself on different types of therapy and finding a therapist that will approach your sessions with a type that will work the best for your way of thinking.