Sometimes, if you are new to therapy, or have been seeing a therapist for many years, it can be challenging to know if you have found the best fit for you. You may even be wondering if you should connect with another practitioner, or stay with the one you are currently working with.
At My Wellbeing, we advocate for therapy-matchmaking and the many benefits compatibility can bring. Today, we are so grateful to hear from Michelle and her perspective today about the importance of finding the right therapist for you.
In the notes app of my phone, I used to keep a list of all the doctors I've been to. The list is quite lengthy, and over half of the doctors listed are therapists or psychiatrists. To be more exact, roughly 10-15. I was put in therapy when I was in second grade, and I despised it; I dreaded those 45 minutes every week. Since then, from the age of 8 to 22, I have jumped from doctor to doctor to doctor until I found the one I see now.
While I don't remember the names of all my doctors, I vividly remember each office. They all looked relatively alike: a dollhouse, board games, markers, a couch, and a therapist sitting in a daunting black chair with notepad, and pen in hand. I hopped to another therapist every year or two-maybe less if my hatred was strong enough. I developed some "tricks" to make therapy more tolerable.
There was the silent treatment, where I stared off into the distance as the therapist, always irritated, would tell me I was wasting my time, but "hey, if that's what I wanted to do, we would sit in silence for 45 minutes." Soon after, I created the Duct Tape Technique-genius. If you put a piece of duct tape over your mouth, surely you won't be able to answer "how does this, that, and the other make you feel?"
Mentally ill, struggling with clinical depression and anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm, and PTSD, I was hospitalized multiple times. There, I was met with even more doctors, prying into the depths of my soul looking for some form of energy or life, only to be halted by the impenetrable wall I built.
I was tired of meeting new therapists.
I was tired of the first consultations, where I sat next to my mom as she told my story again and again. I gave up on therapy.
Finally, two years ago, I met my current therapist. I don't know why, but we clicked. In the beginning, my silence was an acceptable choice, respected by my therapist. He explained that patients with PTSD don't react well to the usual talk-therapy format. We relive our pain every day regardless, so why talk about it? At least at first.
For the time being, we could work on delving into more surface issues. He used techniques such as tapping, hypnotism, EMDR, and many other "alternative" forms of therapy. Not to say these all worked, but I'm in a much better place than I was two years ago. Now, in the notes app of my phone, I keep a list of everything I want to talk about during our next session.
I know that taking a leap of faith and going to a therapist is terrifying. I know that opening up to a stranger, revealing what lives in your soul, is incredibly difficult. I know that the idea of having to do this multiple times is unfathomable. What I want you to know is if at first you don't succeed, try, try again; See if the next doctor you bare your soul to receives it just the way you want them to.
Like any other relationship in your life, don't settle. You deserve relief. There are plenty of other therapists in the sea.
Our deepest gratitude to Michelle for sharing her powerful perspective today. We hope reading Michelle’s story has been supportive and helpful to you.
What topics do you want to hear about most? We’d love to source experts to share more perspective with you. Let us know at [email protected]. Keep in touch @findmywellbeing.
Michelle Young is an actress based in New York City. She openly shares about her struggles with clinical depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and PTSD on her social account @mich_elleyoung. Her passion is mental health awareness. Using her platform, she speaks on "taboo" topics in the hopes of spreading awareness and dropping the stigma surrounding mental illness.