When discussing being healthy we leave out mental health. Someone can be in the best shape of their life but if they don’t have peace of mind they are not whole. The biggest challenge we face in our lives is right between our ears, the mind. The goal is to be whole in our mind, body, and soul.
Unfortunately, in our culture there is a stigma that if you go see a shrink, a Counselor or a Therapist that you are crazy; that something must be wrong with you. On the contrary it takes a lot of courage to go and talk to a stranger. It can be extremely helpful to talk to someone that will be nonjudgmental, unbiased and just listen.
In life we deal with so much; work, business challenges, financial struggles, kids, parents, school, relationships and other things can become overwhelming. I look at going to therapy as self-care. To a lot of people this word “self-care” is foreign. It simply means taking care of you.
What have you set aside time to do this week just for you? If your answer is nothing, then self-care needs to be a part of your weekly routine because you are important and of great worth. Self-care can be something as simple as reading a book, taking a walk, lighting a candle and taking a bubble bath, or listening to some good music. Like Nike says, Just do it!
Therapy is confidential. Your therapist is not to repeat anything you have discussed in your sessions unless you give them permission and you sign a Release of Information. So you are protected and it is a safe place for you to vent. The limits to confidentiality are if you discuss hurting yourself, someone has hurt you or if you discuss hurting someone.
“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” Hippocrates
Therapy is saying, “I need to go to see someone that can help me gain perspective, who will challenge me, that will show me the blind spots in my life, or that will simply be supportive.” It really is a matter of perspective. When riding an airplane and safety instructions are being explained, they tell you that if the oxygen levels drop to secure a mask for you first before assisting others. What a simple yet profound metaphor for life. Take care of you first. This does not mean you are being selfish, it means you are making yourself a priority.
Here are a few tips to consider when choosing a Therapist.
- You may obtain a referral from a friend or relative that had a positive experience with their Therapist.
- Consider if you want a Therapist of the same gender, race, ethnicity, culture or it may not matter.
- If you are not comfortable during your first session, consider finding someone else. As the client you need to be confident in obtaining a favorable outcome.
- Find someone that has a specialty in the area you struggling in. For example; if you struggle with anxiety, find a therapist that specializes with that issue.
- Obtain a therapist that accepts your insurance and calls to see if you have a deductible or a co-pay.
- Have a few questions to ask the therapist when you call. For example; Do you have a specialty? What is your therapeutic style? Are they more of a teacher allowing the client to find their way, or do they gives suggestions in the session? or, do they see what would suit you best?
Sonya Waddell is a Licensed professional Counselor outside of Atlanta, GA. She is the author of “Single Ladies: Living Holy in a Sexy World” which can be purchased on Amazon.