Everybody Needs A Therapist!
While May is the official Mental Health Awareness Month, given the ubiquitous nature of trauma in our culture today, every month deserves this designation. So, I figured we could kick off the Wisdom Series with some tips on how to find a counselor or therapist. In my mind, this area of self-care is grossly neglected and is often seen as self-indulgent. That is just nonsense talk in my book.
That’s why I say, “everyone needs a therapist”… Your brain is part of your anatomy. In fact, a super important piece of it, given your brain is the control center of your nervous system. So, why do we not tend to it in the same way we do the rest of our bodies? ? If we have a pain or ache in our belly that will not go away – we have no problem going to the doctor to find out what is wrong and how we can fix it. So… why don’t we do the same thing when our brain, AKA our emotions, and our central command feels pain or discomfort?
Another example… when we are told “You have cancer” what follows is the battery of tests they want to run and the potential treatment plan. Never once did someone say to me, “How did that diagnosis make you feel? Are you OK? Does your brain (emotions) need some support like the rest of your body?”
So join me in celebrating the beauty of the brain, and let’s take a look at some ways to find a counselor so that you, too, can enjoy the many benefits of this integral piece of self-care. You need not wait until you are in a crisis to address your mental health. This is something that should be tended to regularly in all times — the good, the bad AND the ugly!
- Consult your provider directory: If you have insurance, most plans cover mental health costs. So, it seems silly to not use this resource if it is there and waiting for you! Make sure you find a provider in your plan and familiarize yourself with how frequently you can go.
- Ask someone you trust for a referral: I have found some of the best therapists from my friends. Don’t be afraid to ask — mental health is super important and should never be ignored!
- Learn about some different types of therapy: From the somatic approach to the cognitive behavioral approach — there is a huge diversity of techniques out there. Do some reading about the different types and give one a try. If you don’t like that type, then try another and another until you find the right fit for you.
- Use a reliable online database: I have used Psychology Today to find some great counselors — including the one I use now! The listings include lots of helpful information about the types of therapy counselors practice as well as their location so you can hone in on the right choice for you.
- Reach out to National Organizations that address your concern: For example, if you struggle with PTSD there’s the National Center for PTSD. You can find lots of resources, potential referrals, and further support in these national organizations.
- Think about your goals ahead of time: Therapy is not a one-and-done type of experience. Nor are you going to show up and be told how to fix yourself. You are going to need to dig in and do the hard work (do not count on your counselor for this) to help you get the care you need.
- Try online apps: I recently started using Alma and absolutely love the counselor I found. They ask you a series of questions to get you aligned with the best fit, and there are often online coupons you can find for a free week or month to get you started. Best thing of all for me — I can ugly cry in my own living room and don’t have to drive home after!