If the shoe fits…4 ways to find the right therapist for you

Choosing a counselor that is right for you is a lot like finding the right pair of shoes. And one size does not fit all in the case of finding the mental health therapist that is right for you. What works for one person will absolutely not work for another. Consider the shoe shopping analogy. When you’re shoe shopping, you’re going to go for the shoe that you feel comfortable with, has a style that suits you, incites creativity and inspiration, and will sustain the wear for the long haul.

 

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See? More than one style to fit more than one person…

 

Most people aren’t going to think twice about not buying a pair of shoes that pinches toes and has heels so high that you can’t walk a step in them, right!? So why should finding a therapist be any different?

Let’s tease apart these details a little further as there are definitely the do’s and don’ts of finding a therapist/counselor that suits you.

1. No matter what, you must feel comfortable with your therapist. Your therapist is someone that you will be {read should be} telling your innermost thoughts to. Your therapist should not: be judgmental, rigid, and or tell you what you should do.

Good therapists are not advice givers. Good therapists recognize that their client is their own best expert and knows what they need to do, although talking about it with a trusted source is how the healing begins and the decision processes occur.

Your therapist should never judge you or make you feel less than because they disagree with something that you have said or done. Therapists should recognize that humans will make mistakes and have difficult decisions to make—and continue to show support throughout.

2. Your therapist should have a therapeutic and interpersonal style that resonates with you. I’ll use myself as an example. By nature, I am quiet in my tone and assertive in my communication, but not aggressive. I would never do well with a therapist that was forceful or overbearing. Some individuals prefer the more forceful “tell me what to do approach” but I know myself enough to know that I would never go back if a therapist was loud and aggressive with me. If you enjoy a sense of humor or a truly authentic person that will curse in front of you and tell you how messed up the world is—then these are the traits that your therapist should have.

If you cannot relate to someone on an interpersonal level, your therapist and you will not be successful. Therapy is a human centered business. Underneath it all, we all have struggles and it’s important for you to find that counselor who is able to communicate the most effectively with you. And has an interpersonal style that matches your personal preference.

3. Your therapist should help to inspire you. Inspiration occurs when a new idea is brought forth to you, you totally “get” it, and you feel inspired to be a better mom, dad, sister, aunt—person. Maybe your therapist validates your feelings of how difficult and tiring motherhood is, but is able to point out all of your successes in raising your son. This very interaction could ultimately be enough for you to realize what a valuable asset you are and thus propel—aka inspire—you to be the best mom that you can be for your son.

See, therapists have this unique ability to “plant the seed” in their clients. They can tell you a tiny fact that that you may or may not have known about yourself and from that tiny seed grows a beautiful flower. And the beauty of hearing it from someone you’re not related to or friends with is meaningful in itself.

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4. Your therapist should be in the therapeutic process with you for the long haul…or until your insurance runs out…! Unfortunately most people cannot afford to attend therapy unless their insurance pays for it—and most managed care companies only allot 6-12 sessions annually. With this being said, your therapist should be someone that is truly working with you, not just telling you what you want to hear, or endlessly scratching notes on a yellow legal pad as you spill your life story and current issues.

Your therapist should not “shy away” from the difficult stuff that you bring to the table. Therapists should take responsibility for choosing this profession and be open to hearing some of the very hard, traumatic details of you—their client’s—life. Burnout in the counseling profession is a very real phenomenon and counselors must take the steps necessary for their own self-care so that they may best help you move forward and heal.

Tying it all together…

Please realize that you always have the option to bow out of receiving individual counseling from a particular therapist if the two of you truly are not jiving on a core level (I’m not referring to an instance where you may not like something your therapist said-tell them why you didn’t like it! I’m referring to a deeper experience of just really not caring for the person you’re about to go bare your soul to).

For example, maybe you can’t put your finger on it but your gut instinct is that you don’t care for them. If you go into a session knowing that you’re not a fan of your therapist, how do you think you’re going to be able to effectively process and work through what you need to?!

Never sell yourself short throughout the process of finding and working with a therapist. As you change, your needs may change and you may have outgrown your current counselor. Maybe you want to reduce your sessions from once a week, to once a month, to once every three months for a periodic check in. Your therapist should not take this personally.

Choose a therapist that causes you to feel comfortable, is easy to talk to, and is focused on you in the session. Therapy is not about the therapist and what they have overcome, how they solved a problem, etc. Therapy is your time to shine so to speak. The therapy session is a sacred place for you to go when you need feedback, evidence based techniques for healthy living/sorting out a problem, or quite simply— to feel HEARD.

I believe that therapy is one of the most healthy, self-indulgent (in the most positive sense of the word!) and glorious experiences that a person can have. How often in life do you get a full 50 minutes to an hour block of time where you are able to talk openly and completely about yourself, your dreams, your triumphs, your progress, your hopes, your fears, your experiences?

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come strength”. –Sigmund Freud

Find the therapist that speaks to you on a deeper level. Just like in any other relationships you have in life, don’t settle. You deserve more.

Wishing you supportive therapy today and everyday should you so choose to partake in the process,

Rachel Ann

What are you here for? The importance of knowing your purpose

“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive,

but in finding something to live for.”

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

What comes to mind when you are asked to define your purpose in life?

A characteristic of positive mental well-being is understanding that there is a purpose for your life. Each individual is unique and has the potential to offer valuable contributions to the world that we live in. However, many individuals get caught up in the day to day grind, ambling throughout life with a passive existence.

Finding your purpose can become muddled when we have to carry out seemingly menial tasks on a daily basis. Sometimes it can become quite difficult to not lose sight of our overarching goals, especially when we are not where we want to be—career wise, relationship wise, or with our educational endeavors. Keep in mind, every struggle that you encounter has the ability to define what your purpose in life may be. From struggles come clarity and realizations that you are able to persevere despite the odds.

Purpose can be found by overcoming weaknesses.

Purpose is so powerful that research has shown that people who have a sense of purpose actually live longer. Creating life goals creates purpose and gives us something to strive for. Purpose provides direction, giving us a sense of meaning in our lives, even when we believe that we are not where we want to be at that given moment.

Think about it. Have you ever had to work at a job that you did not like because you hadn’t finished your degree or obtained a particular license/certification that you needed to work at your ‘dream job’? When you have a sense of purpose it is easier to see the light through the trees so to speak.

Purpose drives us as human beings to improve and reach the goals that we have set for ourselves.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”

― Robert Bryne

What is the driving force behind your daily decisions?

Purpose provides a sense of meaning in that a person is able to appreciate the hard work that goes into creating a life that you want to live. Why would doctors slave through medical school in order to become physicians? Why would a military service member risk it all to fight for our freedom or complete the rigorous training programs that are required of them?

A sense of purpose. Understanding that the end goal is more important than the immediate existence. Having a sense of purpose creates an understanding that achieving major goals does not happen overnight. Realizing that important and sacred achievements require hard work and getting through the trials of everyday existence.

Ask anyone that has achieved a difficult goal and they will tell you that they had to make sacrifices in order to get where they wanted to be. Whether it was changing eating habits to lose weight, obtaining a degree while raising a family, or saving every penny in order to purchase a home—never losing sight of your goals in life will have heavy implications for how you live. Achieving those goals will contribute to your purpose in life.

What do you love? What are you passionate about?

Develop and articulate what it is in life that really causes you to feel happy and impassioned. Through our differences in passion and interests, we as a society are able to create meaningful lives that are developed upon our own specific interests. What one person specializes in is completely different from the next, yet they each bring a value that is unique to them.

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born

and the day you find out why.”

—Mark Twain

A lack of purpose in life can induce depression and anxiety. A person may begin to feel worthless, or as if they are not meaningful in the world.

Everyone is here for a reason.

Finding out what you were brought here on earth to do is one of the most freeing and exhilarating feelings—keeping that in mind can be the challenge, especially when you’re stressed and feel as if you are not making a difference the way that you want to be.

Always keep in mind the end goal that you are working to achieve.

If you’re struggling to understand the why of your existence, experiment with trying new activities. Whether it’s volunteering at an animal shelter, taking an art class, or joining a fitness club to discover your likes and dislikes—the beauty of the world that we live in is that there is an outlet for everyone to plug into.

Lean on your Higher Power for direction. Spirituality and religion have been found to increase life satisfaction, coping skills, and hope. So even after finding your purpose in life, leaning on your religious and spiritual beliefs can aid you when and if you feel discouraged.

Tying it all together…

Purpose in life helps to define who we are. Having an end goal(s) creates a life where we seek to provide meaningful contributions. As we age, our purposes will become different. As we achieve our goals, purposes will change. Seek to always set new goals and strive towards achieving the things that you want out of life.

Realize that patience and kindness to yourself go a long way. Patience in the pursuit of achieving your goals and kindness in realizing that you are trying your best. Remind yourself of your purpose daily and take the steps—no matter how big or small—to make it happen.

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live

more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.

You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget this errand.

Woodrow Wilson

 

Wishing you a purpose filled life today and everyday,

 

Rachel Ann

 

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/spirituality

http://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/having-a-sense-of-purpose-in-life-may-add-years-to-your-life.html#.WOotDoWcFPY