When my life came crashing down, it was as if all the puzzle pieces of my life were tossed into the air and scattered all over the place. I didn’t even have the picture on the cover of the puzzle box to help begin putting the pieces of my life back together.
Have you ever felt that way? Lost? Alone? Scared? Confused? Broken? I knew deep within I needed help, but I had no idea where to begin or how to even pick a therapist.
In the beginning I asked family, friends and my doctor for recommendations or referrals. Once I had several names, I started calling each therapist to find out a little more about them and to decide if I wanted to schedule my first session with them. I also kept a notepad close by so I could write all the necessary information down so I wouldn’t forget.
My first phone call with the therapist was really important, because this is where I found out such things as:
- How long the therapist has been in practice.
- How many patients they have treated with issues similar to mine.
- Have they ever been sued or have any pending lawsuits against them.
- For myself – I needed the “intuitive fit” to feel comfortable with my therapist.
(This has always worked well for me but other people may disagree).
If after the first phone call I felt the therapist and I were a possible fit, I would schedule my next appointment, which was face-to-face. In other words, the first contact was more about the therapist and the second was more about me and my own issues.
During this visit, I was pretty withdrawn but appreciated how the therapist asked me questions such as:
- What issues I was struggling with?
- What outcome did I want from my therapy?
- How I wanted my life to be?
- How will I know when I get there?
- How will she help me reach my goals?
Fortunately I found a wonderful therapist I was comfortable with and appreciated the:
- Healthy boundaries she kept.
- She was honest and direct.
- Things she said made sense to me.
- The advice she gave was helpful.
- She also recommended group counseling where I could interact with other women who were going through similar issues.
- She was patient, empathetic, accepting and nonjudgmental.
- She listened to what I was saying and the feelings it evoked.
It took some time and patience to find a licensed therapist who could help me with my depression, post traumatic stress and other related issues but its been worth the time and effort. I still have work to do in my personal healing and have discovered asking for help is not a sign of weakness but is actually a sign of strength. So don’t give up — it does get better with patience, professional help and a willing heart to do the work.