Hey Hey Heyyyyy!! Welcome/Welcome back to my blog!
I hope you all have been doing as well as you can during this infamous year! The wild circumstances have placed mental/emotional health and wellness at the forefront of many minds. In the last few months I’ve had quite a few conversations with those around me concerning therapy. I’ve answered questions like:
- Is it worth it?
- What kind of therapy is best?
- What if I don’t like my therapist?
- Should they be Christian?
- What if I’m afraid of what I find out about myself?
- What do I say in sessions?
- Where do I find a therapist?
- Do I really need it?
How many of you have been curious about therapy?
Just as God has given us doctors, car mechanics, and plumbers to meet our various needs, He has also given us therapists. For a long time I prayed for God to fix my mind and to help me overcome my relational and emotional problems. Because there is a stigma surrounding mental health, which is thankfully waning, I never considered that what I was dealing with was worth getting professional help.
It wasn’t until I had two panic attacks in 2016 that I realised there might be something bigger going on with me. I am forever grateful for an old friend of mine who found my first therapist and drove me to my first appointment and stayed in the car the entire time just in case it was too much for me. From there, I began my therapy journey and the healing that literally saved my life.
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead…As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”
-James 2:14-17, 26
I’m just letting y’all know right now, these are my thoughts, based on my experience. I ain’t licensed or nothing, I’m just a human being trying to get through life and be like Jesus. Therapy has helped me do both in a way that works for me!
Do I Really Need Therapy?
The skepticism is real. Most people I speak with say something like, “What would I even talk about?” A good place to start is why you considered therapy in the first place. Did you have an emotional outburst that surprised you? Do you always feel like you’re losing the battle of self-control in a certain area? Maybe someone suggested it to you, if so, ask them why and humbly listen.
I personally think it’s at least worth a shot if you went through a recent life change (relationship status, family addition, career switch, death, etc.). Those types of transitions can bring out weird inner stuff and also they’re simply new territory. It can’t hurt to get a bit of help and gain a few skills to wade through it in a healthy way.
Why Do I Love Therapy?
OH MY GOODNESS SO MANY REASONS BUT I WILL TRY SO HARD TO MAKE THIS BRIEF.
For about a decade I had been trying to understand why my social/emotional/mental makeup is so wonky. My feelings were ruining my life, I never really felt safe anywhere and I would destroy friendship after friendship. I’ll take a moment here to say being self-aware is not enough, I knew for a long time something was up with me, but I didn’t have the words/tools to overcome. It was like I had all of these puzzle pieces, but didn’t have the pieces to connect them and it was driving me CRAZY. In addition to that, I had all of these people making assumptions about me and my mind accusing me which caused me to feel even more misunderstood and hopeless. I knew there was something I was missing, but couldn’t figure out what.
It wasn’t until my 4th therapist that I started feeling adequately seen and gained helpful coping skills. That connection was cut short when I moved to Boston for a job last Spring. I prayed and fasted for many months that my next therapist would be a perfect match and would help me break through my toughest mental/emotional hurdles. BOY DID GOD ANSWER. She has been beyond all that I asked of God and completely worth the wait. Not only is she amazingly guiding me through my most difficult areas, but she is also hilarious, quirky and deeply invested in my growth. So invested, that she teared up when I got offered my new job and cheers crazily whenever I tell her about how I’ve stood up for myself. Although she isn’t a Christian therapist, she has definitely been a gift from God.
Through my sessions with her for the last year, I’ve been able to better understand how to practically live out the Bible. God made us all so different from one another so naturally our walks will be different. Understanding my emotional makeup, personality, trauma, and the environment I grew up in has a lot to do with type of follower of Christ I am and how I connect to God. One of the most incredible takeaways has been learning how to love and forgive myself, which frees me to love and forgive others.
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.‘”
What Will People Think?
The obvious answer is, “Who cares?”, but in my experience there have been about 4-5 types of people. There are those who think it’s “interesting” but don’t care to know more. There are others who don’t think you need it yet have no idea what therapy entails. As you learn new skills and grow, there may be people who don’t respond well to how you change and you may lose them. On the other hand, there might be people who don’t believe you’re actually changing and doubt your progress, you may lose them too. And lastly, my personal favourite, the group that is proud of you, sees your progress and encourages you to keep doing the hard work.
Therapy has helped me clarify who is truly in my corner and who is not. It has also taught me how to choose more wisely who I allow into my inner circle. The right people will respect to your boundaries, actively listen to you and are working on their own personal growth.
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Where Do I Even Start This Therapy Journey?
First of all, if you’re really thinking about it YAY!! This list isn’t perfect but I think it could be helpful:
- Tell 2-3 People You Trust what you’re doing so they can hold you accountable and support you! As the saying goes, it takes a village, but because this is so vulnerable it may need to be a tiny, trustworthy village. It has been so helpful to bounce what I’ve been learning off of a few people and have my growth affirmed by them.
- Start Searching– Be sure to know your price range, how often you want sessions (weekly/bi-weekly/monthly) and insurance. This can be a daunting process, use your village to help you!! Helpful Tip: if you’re low on money, search for therapists who offer “sliding scale” payments.
- Psychology Today is a fantastic starting point, you can filter the therapist search by virtually anything. They also have helpful articles and guides. Check out their Types of Therapy page.
- Betterhelp by far is the most flexible, quickest and probably the least costly. It is completely virtual though, but that’s optimal right now anyway. This is the service I used while I was in Australia!
- Zencare is also good and gives great visibility into a therapist’s availability! The downside is that it is only available for major west/east coast U.S. cities 😫
- If employed, check with your employer’s HR (Human Resources) to see if there is an EAP (Employee Assistance Program). If there is, you could have access to a free assessment and a few free therapy sessions!!
- Have a Free Phone Consultation (If Possible) Some therapists offer a free consultation which allows you to check if they’re a good fit. This can save you money, time and honestly frustration. Here’s a good guide for what to ask!
- DO. THE. WORK.– Once you have a therapist, give it a true, humble chance. Do the homework they give you, try out the skills and be honest if they didn’t work for you! A good therapist will listen and adjust. Don’t waste your/their time.
- Rinse and Repeat– If you find that they’re not a good fit, but you want to continue seeking help, make a note of what did/didn’t work and adjust your search accordingly, it’s so worth it!
“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.”
If you are a believing person, pray and fast fervently over who your therapist will be. When done correctly, therapy can beautifully transform your walk with God. But to be clear, this journey takes courage, time, humility, faith and strength. Depending on how deep your sessions are, it can be very challenging to face past events in your life and unlearn harmful behaviours. God will bless your effort and guide you to who you were created to be and what you were created to do.
I love you all, please contact me if you have more questions about my experience with therapy!!
Moore Awaits ♥️