I, a therapist, go to therapy

Posted on October 10, 2017

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And it’s the best form of self care I have ever practiced! Here’s me — doing my bit to End the Stigma on World Mental Health Day

I have been going to therapy for a few months now. When I started, it was because I wasn’t doing so well — physically and mentally. Being Type A isn’t easy. The pressure I put on myself is immense and all pervasive (in all realms of life). It was beginning to take a toll on me. I was experiencing palpitations, anxiety and issues with sleep. I found a therapist based on a fellow therapist’s recommendation. I cannot recommend therapy enough.

Even as a therapist, I had some reservations about going to therapy myself. Upon reflection, I realize I was stigmatizing the process even though I know that there is nothing wrong in seeking help. If I had broken my foot, would I have hesitated as much? Of course not.

To be honest, this is the second time in the last 7 years I have been to therapy. Being an immigrant, away from all my support systems is hard. And even when they are close, supporting someone who probably has all the tricks of the trade isn’t easy. Not because others aren’t doing a good job of it, but because I am high-maintenance when it comes to emotional support. (Yes, it’s one of the things I am working on with my therapist!)

The thing about therapy is that it is very subjective. The skill of a person is actually not dependent on how much education or experience they have. It is dependent on what you need and what they can offer. But it’s really great to have a sounding board that’s impartial, non-judgemental and trained to be thought-provoking.

Here is how therapy has helped me in the last few months:

A. Made me feel better about myself

B. Helped me device an action plan for the thing I most wanted to work on

C. Brought forth unresolved issues from childhood, which has actually been quite freeing

D. Enabled me to accept what I am feeling without judgement

E. Allowed me to relax — yes, I needed permission to goof off for a while!

F. Improved my ability to analyse my thoughts and emotions

G. Impacted the way I communicate things to people I love — a skill I have a ton of in my professional life, but lacked a bit personally (Oh, stop rolling your eyes!)

H. Reduced my expectations of others

I. Help me manage my work:life balance including burn out and making time for things I love

Even as I write, I realize I can go on and on about how seeking counselling support as improved my quality of life. I truly believe that it was money well-spent. I do recognize that not everyone can afford to go to a therapist. I do feel we need better policies and some public-sector funding that will enable us to see a therapist of our choice.

Therapy should be a human right! We all deserve to be heard, validated and have opportunities for an awesome life with meaningful relationships with ourselves and others.

Just my two cents worth on World Mental Health Day!

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