I have always had the perception that therapy isn’t for me.
I’m an upbeat, naturally optimistic and healthy person. I consider myself a go-getter, and for the most part, I can balance the many competing roles I play.
Except for…the times I spread myself so thin that I got sick, and the times when I experienced betrayal and fell into deep despair. Oh, and the times I feel so nervous about something that I start game-planning for all the possible bad outcomes months before.
Searching for a therapist is difficult
After going through a pretty tough surgery in 2013, friends encouraged me to talk to a therapist. At the time, I had United insurance through my employer so I figured I would start there. I made several different phone calls to the customer service line over weeks until I finally got a list of names and phone numbers emailed to me. Unfortunately, the only person on the list that was accepting new patients was about 30 minutes away by car and only had appointments during my work hours. Nevertheless, I scheduled an appointment.
She was nice and listened as I talked about my surgery. But even after my fourth appointment, she still only listened. I would ask her for recommendations, of which, she only provided broad suggestions that didn’t seem applicable to my situation. I eventually stopped scheduling appointments with her and once again decided that therapy isn’t for me.
Personal connection with your therapist is important
It wasn’t until two years later that I reconsidered therapy again. I was really triggered by betrayal in a personal relationship and chose to use my work’s EAP (employee assistance program) to talk to someone. I didn’t want to hit rock bottom before asking for help this time. The only parameter the EAP representative asked me for was my zip code. They connected me with a nearby therapist who was currently accepting new patients.
Tucked away in the back wing of an old office building, I met my new therapist. She was sweet but always seemed like she was in a little bit of a rush. I was so confident this new patient-provider relationship was going to work. I met with her for five sessions- two of which I had to pay for out of pocket because my EAP only covered three free sessions in a year. It wasn’t until the last couple of sessions that I realized this really wasn’t going to work. I felt such a huge generational gap with her, and often, I would feel humiliated and judged after I shared personal stories. Again… I ghosted my therapist. Therapy must not be for me.
Don’t give up, even after a poor experience
As I became increasingly aware of the importance of preventative care because of my work within the healthcare industry, I decided to call the EAP program again later that year to ask for a different recommendation. They connected me with another woman close by.
This time, everything seemed to flow perfectly! She was a good listener and provided me with tangible methods to manage my anxiety. She has appointment times after my work hours, so I can be consistent with my sessions without having to take time off. Most importantly, talking to her feels like talking to a close friend so I feel completely understood.
Mental health contributes to overall health
I’ve worked with her for four years now and feel like a totally different person. I am grounded, and I have a daily meditation and gratitude practice. I am still the upbeat, optimistic person my friends and family know me to be- but now, I feel genuinely healthy. I am strategic with my time, and make sure that I don’t spread myself so thin that I don’t have any time to care for my needs. I feel so much more emotionally equipped to deal with any obstacles that I might face.
Finding the perfect therapist truly transformed my life. And it turns out, therapy is for me after all. Therapy does not need to be used only in a reactive way- instead, therapy is for anyone looking to improve their mental and emotional wellbeing.
This is what drove us to create Therapeasy- an online tool to make it easier for everyone to match with their perfect therapist and access care. Together, we can improve wellbeing by making connections, facilitating healing and eliminating stigma.
If you are interested in learning more, visit our website or email us at email@example.com
Written by Therapeasy CEO : Christine Thai Way