National Psychotherapy Day 2019 - My Experience in Psychotherapy
National Psychotherapy Day 2019
My Experience in Psychotherapy
This year’s focus for National Psychotherapy Day is for everyone to support mental health care by sharing their therapy story with someone. I’ve thought about writing this blog since I first saw this request posted on Facebook a few months ago, but apparently I’ve been avoiding it! Because here I am now, the morning of National Psychotherapy Day, racking my brain on how to put into words my own therapy experience.
Therapy is such a personal experience. One that is rarely talked about, but felt so deeply. As a therapist I talk about therapy all the time with my colleagues. With care (and confidentiality of course!) we consult about our clients and the growths and challenges we face in our work. I notice that even in those consultations, it’s hard to express what actually happens in the room with a client. It’s even harder to talk about it with family and friends who have not experienced therapy for themselves. But here I am again talking about my experience with clients rather than my personal experience with psychotherapy.
Going to therapy is intimidating. It’s anxiety provoking, frustrating at times, and certainly vulnerable. I have been seeing my current therapist on a weekly basis for about a year and a half now, and I still experience these feelings when I go to my sessions. I’m sure this sounds terrible so far, but I’m actually seeing it as an amazing thing. My therapist has created a safe space for me where I have felt secure enough to share every single part of myself. My strengths, my weaknesses, my hopes, my fears, my excitement, and my grief… I look forward to sharing both the positive and negative things that swirl around in my head every week. It’s not always easy sitting down, looking at her, and opening my mouth to tell her things that feel embarrassing, scary, or sometimes really painful. But what happens next is always worth those few uncomfortable moments of being vulnerable.
What’s happens next is change. It’s not usually that instant, lightbulb over the head experience that we all hope for (although this does in fact happen sometimes and it’s awesome). Often it’s more gradual and not always visible since a lot of it occurs internally. But change does happen with time, effort, and the right environment. It’s amazing when you get to the point where you can look back and see the changes or have them pointed out to you by someone you care for.
Recently therapy has been a weekly reminder for me to be more present, content, and grateful for where I am right now, when my default has always been being critical and impatient as my mind pulls me a million steps ahead. But over the years I’ve experienced change in how I view the world, myself, and others. Change in my internal dialogue and how I treat myself. Change in my behaviors toward others. Change in how I narrate my past and change in how I visualize my future. Change in the most beautiful sense of the word in that it’s change that I welcome and work damn hard for. With each change, no matter how small, I feel one step closer to knowing who I am, who I want to be, and what I want for my future. I also feel closer to being the friend, family member, and therapist that I’m striving to be, although I know this will be a lifelong goal and journey.
This is only a snapshot of what therapy has been like for me. For those of you that have been in therapy before, I hope that this disclosure validates and normalizes some of your own experiences with it. For those of you who have never been in therapy or who have not had a good experience with it, I hope that this might help you to get started with it. Finding the right therapist is very important. If you think that I might be a good fit for you, please visit my contact page and give me a call to start your journey of self-exploration, growth, and healing.