You already know my word for the year is intentional, although it is my word for 2018 I began being intentional at the end of 2017. I saw a therapist for the first time; actually for the second time in my life. My Mom took me to one when I was really young, she thought something was wrong with me and was looking for a fix. As it turns out, nothing was wrong, I was just a busybody and needed to be kept busy. Ha! I have no recollection of this but the story makes me giggle.
At the end of last year, Babe and I decided to try couples therapy/counseling. This was a first for the both of us, we have talked about it here and there but had never done it. Over the years I have heard all kinds of things about therapy, both good and bad. At first, it was something only “famous people” did, at least that was the only time I heard it mentioned. For many years therapy was very taboo in the black community. I would hear people say “Don’t tell people your problems”.
Well, I have my own perspective now and it is one of the best decisions we have ever made. We don’t lay out on a chaise (Did you say it like the commercial?) but it is a nice environment. It is not spilling out all of your business, it is a conversation. Therapy is self-care just like getting your hair done, nails done, a massage, Target, you get it. We are investing in ourselves, although we are doing couples therapy we are learning things about ourselves individually that makes us better partners together. We’ve been at this thing for 14 years *body roll* this is a much-needed tune-up, oil change, front end alignment, and tire rotation. Honestly, it has been a relief off of my shoulders.
5 Things to Consider Before Going to Therapy
#1: Find a good therapist: Finding a good therapist is essential to the process. Put as much work into it as you do when finding the perfect stylist/barber or your eyebrow gal. You need to connect with this person, this allows for better results and a better experience. I do not recommend going to someone you know or a friend of a friend. If you would feel more comfortable with a woman, then seek out a woman.
#2 The Cost: It is not as expensive as I thought, so says the girl with health insurance. It cost the same copay as going to see a specialty doctor. Tip: If you have a job utilize your Employee Assistance Program (EAP), they typically offer anywhere from 4 – 8 FREE therapy session for yourself or someone in your immediate family. Your co-workers and supervisors are not privy to this information.
#3 Have a Goal: You need to know what you want to get out of this experience. Do you want help getting over a trauma? Do you want tips to cope with a difficult parent? Do you want to manage your mental health concerns? Do you want to address behavioral changes in your kid? Do you want better communication with your spouse? Whatever your it is, know it before you go. This allows you to maximize your experience. Don’t be afraid to write down your goals and the particular points you want to bring up.
#4 Be Open: If you are not open then you will not meet your goal. It is as simple as that, the therapist is not here to force you to speak. They are going to get paid no matter what. If you do not feel comfortable speaking see point #1. If you are not going to be honest about what is really going on you will not meet your goal. You may need to have a come to Jesus moment with yourself before your first session. I met a lovely therapist who inspired me to look into therapy training courses at Regis College. Being a therapist is such a rewarding job and I admire anyone who does it.
#5 It will Get Uncomfortable: At some point in your sessions, things will get uncomfortable. It is a part of the process, don’t take it personally. Remember tip #3 you are working toward your goal. We do things and we do not realize we do them and or we don’t understand why we do them. The finding may be tough, but it is the breakthrough you are seeking.