Let's talk about therapy
Over winter break, I have been watching the beloved 90s cartoon, "Hey, Arnold!". One episode that stuck out to me was " Helga on the couch", where the girl with a crush on Arnold went to see a child psychologist. This episode stuck out to me the most not only because it gave more background on the character, but it also showed therapy is in society.
Her family reacted negatively and was discouraging, while she appeared to be ashamed to be there. She went in disguise.
Therapy was often looked down upon for years. It can be beneficial by teaching coping skills, but people who initially had a bad experience will not see it that way. It is a very versatile discussion because no one will ever have the same experience. People often talk about their experiences during or after therapy. There are a few things you should know beforehand.
Things you need to look into before starting therapy
1.The cost and coverage
Therapy and mental health is treated as a luxury when it should be treated as a necessity. For financial preparations, figure out the therapists covered by your health insurance. You can do a co-payment instead of paying a large amount out of pocket per session. Based on research, a session can be $65 per hour to $250 (or even more). It is dependent on the city, level of training, and years of experience. This can become costly, which is why many people stray away from therapy. On an interesting note: some therapists are/were offering free therapy sessions due to the increased stress from the pandemic where many people were facing drastic changes. There are also some affordable resources a person can find.
Before Covid 19, this was a factor to find them in your area. However, many places offer online sessions, which are more flexible, especially if you had a busy schedule.
3.The type of therapy you need (It’s important to do your research)
There are different types of therapy, and you should try to research the different approaches to it. Not every type of therapy will be suited for your personality. You need to know what you want out of therapy and find a professional who provides the correct approach for your situation.
4.If you are ready to be open and honest
While in therapy, it is possible to become more open as you grow to trust your therapist. However, you have to be open to learning hard truths. When you decide to go to therapy, you're recognizing you want to improve in your life, whether it’s learning to cope with a situation, wanting to learn more about yourself, or want to learn life skills. Being open will make the process go more smoothly.
5.The characteristics of a therapist
Consider the characteristics of a therapist that would make you more comfortable with them. For instance, gender can play a role in how open you are with a therapist. Some people find comfort in talking to someone who is of the same gender as them. Others may prefer the opposite gender. This can have to do with who they grew up with or if someone has a trauma with a specific gender. A person can choose someone who can relate to their experiences or someone with a fresh perspective.
My experience with therapy
My experience with therapy was mixed. I had a total of three therapists from the summer of 2017 to May 2019. That seems like a lot in a short time, but my first therapist out of the three was the only one I felt a connection to and who was patient. My first therapist was a black woman. When I spoke about things, like my experience at my racist high school, she would be understanding. For some background, the administration would not take my bullying seriously. If someone would falsely accuse me of saying something without there being evidence, they would threaten me.
My first therapist also faced discrimination due to her field. She also dealt with societal standards of being a woman, causing her to relate to my experiences, was very sympathetic and patient with me. However, she got relocated to a different state (around October 2017), which I was sad about because even with the others, she’s the only one I had breakthroughs with. In 2017, after I turned 16, things went downhill to a point where I was clinically depressed. I went to a psychiatrist and therapist from March 2018 to May 2018. That time I was diagnosed with social anxiety, and due to my toxic school environment, that just made sense. I didn’t feel connected to that therapist, and there was always a long wait; even when I had appointments I wouldn’t be seen for an hour or more later.
I didn’t have a problem with her, but she didn’t make me feel connected, and I genuinely hated waiting that long because I had homework to do (most of it was online). The summer I didn’t see her again. The final time I went to therapy was because of this boy who used to be my friend but ended up using me and bullying me by turning people against me. It caused me to become so anxious going there that I would be sick nearly every morning. I had him in all of my classes, which made it worse. So because of that trauma, I started therapy again in April 2019- May 2019. This one was short-lived because her approach made me feel worse, and she would rush me to get over things when I was still dealing with them in the present time. She used a dialect that triggered me, and overall her approach was not right for me. Regardless of my last experience being horrible, I would try therapy again. I’m in a good place in my life in terms of my relationships, who is close to me and I enjoy the work I do. I’m more motivated than ever, but there are still things I want to work on.
Don’t let one bad experience keep you from trying because every journey has its highpoints and downfalls. It's about taking a lesson from whatever happened and applying it to the future. Make sure to take care of yourselves.
So that is all for this post, special thanks to Nina Marie who helped me with this post. Not only is she a psychology minor, but she is also a makeup artist and be sure to check out her site. Thank you for taking the time to read. Don’t forget to like, comment, and share. Remember to subscribe to my Youtube channel, and follow my Instagram and Twitter to connect and stay up to date. I am excited about next week's blog post so make sure you come back next Saturday. Until then, there’s a lot more content on my youtube channel. I hope you have a good, evening or night.
Until next time,
xoxo Lay 💋