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Making an appointment to meet with a psychotherapist

How can you decide who to work with?

Are you thinking about meeting with a psychotherapist but are uncomfortable about it on some level?

You are not alone!

In the next series of blogs I will explore some common feelings about psychotherapy that can make the difference between seeking assistance or not.

This first blog explores the difficulty of deciding whom to work with.  Making a decision to seek out help is a brave choice and not one that everyone makes! (example…Rob Ford).

By the time you have decided something isn’t working as well as it could in your life, you are already starting the work of creating change.

Now the first challenge comes into play! Who do I work with?  There are so many different types of therapy…..this is overwhelming!

Do I see a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychoanalyst, Cognitive Behavioural therapist, sex therapist, Jungian analyst, Gestalt psychotherapist, hypnotherapist?… and the list goes on and on!

This blog does not explore the differences amongst practitioners.  Rather the purpose of this blog is to simply alert you to the fact that there are differences in training, mandate, OHIP coverage, insurance coverage and style.

For example, a psychiatrist’s mandate is not necessarily to offer therapy sessions.  They may often refer their clients to a therapist while carefully monitoring medications and other aspects of their client.

A psychiatrist is covered by OHIP, and a psychotherapist is not.  What is important when making the brave decision to seek help is that you empower yourself to ask as many questions as possible.

Do your research and understand the style of therapy you are looking at engaging with.

What I have found over the years, both as a client and as a therapist, is that no matter what kind of therapy you engage in, it is the relationship and rapport with the therapist that heals.

Change in therapy does not come about by a series of techniques.  Rather, research reveals it is the healing relationship between client and therapist that is most important.

When choosing a therapist it is wise to meet or speak with more than one and get a sense of who they are and what they feel they have to offer you.

See how you feel after meeting them.  Be empowered by realizing that this is an important decision and the person you decide to work with needs to feel right on some gut level to you!

Good luck with your decision!  If you would like to find out more about me, please contact me to schedule an appointment to get started.  I am happy to answer your questions and wish you all the best.

 

Common Inner Dialogue About Psychotherapy

This blog post explores the common inner voices that can occur prior to making an appointment to meet with a psychotherapist or during the ongoing work with your therapist.

Knowing that these voices can be quite loud is a great step towards making sure you don’t get derailed in your inner work.

Here is a brief list of what you might say out loud or simply hear in your head at any point along the therapy journey:

Am I a loser for needing to see a therapist?

How about all of those starving people in Africa… my problems are nothing compared to starvation.

This is clearly a first world problem I am speaking to you about.  I feel narcissistic and self involved.

These are just three examples of the many discouraging thoughts that can arise regarding psychotherapy.
Here I will address these three thoughts one by one.

Are you a loser for needing to see a therapist?  NO!  In fact people with a fair amount of internal “sobriety” have the sense that they need help and know how to get it and when to get it.  This is called maturity.

We run to the dentist to take care of our teeth, run to the mechanic to take care of our car and run to the gym to take care of our bodies.  What about the soul, spirit, mind and emotions?  Don’t those deserve care as well?  In fact what most people are unaware of is that it is the messy inner closets and emotional pain in our lives that cause a lot of our health problems.

In my opinion, not only are you not a loser (“a fuck up” is another variant of this notion) for seeking out a therapist; rather you are a mature, responsible person who is nurturing your life.  If you nurture your life, life will nurture you.

Another difficult thought is that there are those starving in…(name your place), and therefore my problems are nothing in comparison.  What this line of thinking means is that if a person is starving in Africa or elsewhere, you ought to stuff your pain so they won’t be starving.  Does this make any sense?  This kind of thought creates feelings of guilt and shame around needing love and assistance to sort out whatever the pain or difficulty is.  It already takes tremendous courage to do the work of inner change.  Watch out for this thought.

Finally, a very common theme is that my problems are first world and therefore I’m narcissistic and self-involved to even mention them.  Again, this is a shame and guilt inducing thought that will stand in the way of ever getting the support you need.  In my opinion, you are here in North America for a reason.  Never has there been a time in history where internal baggage can truly be unpacked.  When you lighten your own load you lighten the world’s load.

In this blog I have given you some of my own opinions and I encourage you to explore whether there is any truth here for you.

The next time you hear one of these thought in your mind or one of it’s variants… pause… and ask yourself is this thought even worth paying attention to or is it just there to derail moving forward into greater contentment and possibility?