I have only been to therapy once before in my life and I enjoyed it so much – however, at the time it was exclusively focused on disordered eating/recovery. After 3+ years of being out of therapy I have pondered going back. I actually even gave e-therapy a shot earlier this year but absolutely hated it. I’m sorry but talking in-person to someone is just incomparable for me, though I don’t mean to bash e-therapy. For someone struggling with social anxiety or phobia, or even physical disability, e-therapy may be a good option.
Anyways, back to when I’m back in therapy. 2018 has been a great year in many ways but it’s also come with some challenges that I realized were impacting my overall daily functioning in the sense that my mind would be constantly anxious/worried/over-analyizing. It was hard to shut my brain off at night and would either sleep terribly, need to take OTC sleep medication or not sleep at all. In my mind, I needed to have something “specific” to talk about in therapy prior to setting up an appointment, and then I realized that if I waited for an answer to that – I’d never go.
I have struggled with many things throughout my life, but overall, I have clinically diagnosed Generalized Anxiety Disorder (since age 22) – which is often considered a “trashcan diagnosis” by some psychologists as it is vague. However, I do struggle significantly with anxiety on a daily basis and have a history of panic attacks, amongst other things. I decided to really research and evaluate what I knew I needed in a therapist.
Here was my requirement list
If you’re considering therapy – I suggest you make a similar list of qualities that you would look for in someone that you are willing to do semi-long-term work with. We have qualities that we look for in other relationships in general and finding a therapist that you feel comfortable with shouldn’t be an exception.
- Must be a therapist with a doctorate’s degree
- Nothing against master’s level clinicians but I wanted someone who could also relate to my experiences in graduate school and understood my educational/professional path.
- Must be a male therapist
- I just feel more comfortable talking with men in general. Always have.
- Must be close to my home
- Adding a long commute would mean higher chance of cancelling appointments.
- Must have training/experience in psychodynamic theory (to better process childhood experiences and find meaning in how these have impacted me) and in treatment of anxiety disorders.
To my luck, I found a Dr. who not only met all of the criteria above but also has extensive experience in working with patients who have eating disorders – so even though it isn’t the main focus of my therapy sessions, he actively checks-in with me on this and I am eternally grateful for it.
What I’m working on
It should go without saying that these are just MY needs that I feel I need to address with a mental health professional. If you do not agree with this – please be mindful and move on.
- Processing my relationship with my mother (we talk every day but there is A LOT that we have been through as mother/daughter).
- Trying to figure out the root of my anxiety
- Processing feelings of guilty and defeat.
- Letting go
- Being future-oriented without becoming unbearably overwhelmed
- Relationship with food
- How my goals in life are now different than they were 5 years ago and what this could mean for me personally and professionally.
There are multiple reasons why someone may choose to go to therapy. I enjoy having a space where I can talk and process all of these issues and discover other emotions/concerns/memories, etc. along the way in hopes of becoming the best version of myself that I possibly can. Whether it’s anxiety, depression, trauma, marital issues, etc. – I hope that you find within yourself the courage to seek a healthy support like therapy. All of our stories are different – I choose to be open about being in therapy but remember that this CAN BE a very private matter.
There is NO SHAME in mental health. However, believe me when I know that there IS stigma. I experience this first hand as a therapist who is open about her struggles with an eating disorder as well as anxiety. Mental health MATTERS; let’s TALK.
Are you thinking of going to therapy? Do you have any questions about the process (I am both a patient and a therapist myself)?
DISCLAIMER: If you or someone you know is suffering from severe mental health issues or is struggling with suicidal ideation please contact your nearest emergency room, police station, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.