My life was upside down. I mean, nothing was working; the pandemic was at its peak, business-wise I had no clients coming through, just from a toxic relationship where I was seeking validation from a narcissist, my stomach ulcers were off the charts. I would have difficulty sleeping. Sometimes, when I did sleep, would wake up with my head spinning and heart-thumping like it wants out of my body. To top it all off, my appetite was nowhere to be found, and inevitably, would vomit clear mucus. (Eeew, I know)
On the emotional front, I would cry over everything. Spiritually, I would come across a video of a preacher giving the word and I would quickly scroll from it. I wanted to hear nothing about it. The irony was, in my night panic attacks, I would pray and tell God to help me. I would even go ahead to tell Him that I have no strength. To sum it all up, I was a wreck!
So one day, as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I noticed that I had a friend who was a psychologist. So I reached out to her and asked her if she knew anyone. That is how I landed at Person Centred Wellness. Immediately we scheduled an appointment and the journey began.
I was in such a bad space that I would cry by just hearing a voice saying “hello”. To this date, I think God did hear me that night because how else would you describe me scrolling through Facebook. I mean, I hardly do.
Many people think therapy is sitting or laying on a couch with a psychologist across from you, where you say all your problems and then they give you solutions. Well, I’m sorry to burst your bubble but that is not how it works. A therapist is not there to give you solutions. They are there to challenge your thoughts, patterns, and beliefs to a point in which you become a positive whole person. No one finishes therapy. It is a process.
Through the process of creating a wholesome person, you are challenged to think deep and wide. You know the way to get any academic certificate you need to do an exam, well in therapy, you do assignments. For you to experience change or growth, these assignments need you to invest a significant amount of time and honesty on your part. I won’t lie, as much as I was always crying during the first sessions or when the truth was unveiled, the most difficult bit was the after-session assignments.
To put it into perspective, when I dated my Ex at the time, I was given the assignment to think through the relationship and evaluate my part to play in the relationship. To top it all off, we discussed my previous exes and it was determined that I give too much love to undeserving people. All my exes were emotionally unavailable. This realization cut deep! I mean really deep. See, if I lied about my experience with my previous exes or my upbringing, nothing would make sense. Therefore, you have to be open enough to get the help that you need, just like going to a general doctor. If you give the wrong symptoms, the chances of misdiagnosis are high.
How to identify a good therapist
- Research on the therapist you intend to visit. Just like a doctor, we have general practitioners and then we have specialists. Therapists do specialize in various spheres. Some are family/ relationship dynamic therapists, others are trauma-focused, children-focused, general therapists among others. My suggestion would be; go to a general therapist, have at least two sessions with them then ask them to refer you to another who will better cater to your need. Another key thing to note is your preference for gender. My preference is to go to a therapist of the same sex.
- Inquire on the success rate: Once you have settled on a therapist, it is important that you find out from them, their success rate. How many people have bounced back to life through their help? They could give you a percentage or a ballpark figure.
What the therapist needs from you
- Openness: You will be explained that the sessions are entirely confidential and it is a safe space. No judgment. Some laws govern these sessions where a breach of confidentiality is allowed. This too will be explained. On your part, reveal all the hurt, trauma, abuse, neglect no matter how small. BE vulnerable. Have that cry when it comes. Do not limit yourself
- Do the work: As mentioned earlier, do that which you have been asked to internalize or reflect on. Now, you will most probably feel the need to rush through the assignment and hand it in. However, what worked for me is really taking at least an hour every day to meditate and ponder on the assignment. Sometimes a thought would cross my mind while washing dishes, I would be quick to note down the thought on my journal then proceed with the dishes. I know right now you are thinking, what, all that time??? Yes! Trust me it is a worthy investment of my time.
- Trust the process: Most people start therapy today and almost immediately they are looking to be upbeat with no worries in the world. It doesn’t work like that. The success or failure of your investment is based on your openness and effort into the process. The more you put in the work, the more you see the progress.
I am still in therapy and I can attest to the fact that it works. Therapy can only work if it is combined with seeking answers and guidance from God. My solace comes from knowing that all answers are in His word. If you feel down and depressed, look into the bible for what the word of God says about you. Speak those things to yourself and believe them. I hope this speaks to you as you seek therapy, my greatest investment in life.
Yours in therapy,