I decided in 2019 that one of the gifts that I would give myself was the gift of therapy. I am a counsellor and have been for several years, so I know and appreciate the value of having someone to help me process day to day challenges.
Despite having that knowledge the year ended, and I didn’t get a therapist. Nevertheless, I had people who I could go to for support. If I need clarity on any issue, my support system helped me find solutions.
It took being badly burned through an accident with a hot water bottle to decide to see a therapist.
When I got admitted to the burns unit dazed with pain, the nurses told me that there was a psychologist on staff and I could speak with her if I wanted to. I jumped at the chance.
I didn’t know that I needed her for the burn, but I knew that if there was a psychologist available, I want to take advantage of the opportunity. It’s a rare privilege.
Our first meeting was on day four of my stay on the ward. At that initial session, we chatted about counselling and its importance. I think we both wanted to get to the meatier stuff and decided to stop dancing around the issue. I am sure it might have been challenging for her to treat another professional, but I had no problem assuming the role of a client.
I am not a pretentious person and usually try not to prove myself to others. I couldn’t help myself, and I was happy to cooperate with her and allow her to help me. During the session, I learnt a lot about burnt trauma and how it would affect my family.
After the meeting, I felt lighter and less overwhelmed; it gives a fantastic feeling of acceptance and warmth to have someone understand my thoughts and feelings. I appreciated the place where I could talk honestly about how I feel without the pressure of managing expectations of others.
I also had a clear sense of how to help the family.
She was intuitive and got to the source of the issues quickly. Faster than I anticipated. I guess she is used to working short term with people and have to get to the root early.
But most importantly, I felt safe talking about feelings. I even discovered some that I hadn’t yet acknowledged. Furthermore, the therapist helped me with the adjustments that will be necessary after a sudden and traumatic incident.
She helped me put complicated feelings into context and helped me understand and accept that they were reasonable under the circumstances.
I felt relieved; I wasn’t just feeling sorry for myself; the feelings were logical. The adjustment would be challenging, but I felt better prepared to tackle what lay ahead.
I am glad I didn’t deny myself the opportunity to have someone listen to me and help me make sense of what I was feeling and thinking.
I had two sessions that prepared me to handle my emotions, flashbacks and memories when I got home. It also made me be able to listen to my children as they talked about how they felt when they witness the incident.
Because I acknowledged and dealt with my feelings, I was able to manage theirs. I could listen to my son in the middle of the night as I talk him down from a nightmare. He spoke about his fears and what happened to him as he witnesses the incident. He held those feelings until I got home so we could talk about it. If I hadn’t done the work on me, I wouldn’t have been in a position to hear his hurt and confusion.
I would have sent him to bed in his confused state both of us unable to verbally express how we felt. In freeing me, I released my son. I would do anything; endure any discomfort to be able to do that for him.
When we fail to process our issues, we are unable to help our children with theirs.
Here are five reasons you should consider seeing a therapist.
You will have greater self-awareness
You don’t have to have a big issue to access counselling; sometimes, the cumulative effect of life can impact our mental health. Seeing a therapist will help you understand your experiences and assist you to put them in their proper perspective.
Early intervention is key
The impact of unresolved pain can cause physical problems such as back pain headaches, ulcers and stress-related illnesses.
Early intervention of any issue is always the best option. It is better to identify and treat problems before they become more significant issues.
You’re going through a significant change.
This change could be a career change, retirement, moving house, renegotiating life after or bereavement or divorce. A therapist can also help you deal with a family crisis. Any of these issues are stressful and having someone to talk with a neutral perspective can be of great comfort.
You’re having harmful thoughts.
Thoughts can make you feel good or bad. If you are experiencing long term negative thoughts and cannot change the course of your them yourself, a therapist can help you reframe your views and experience freedom from negativity.
Negative thoughts can change, and you can enjoy living with positive, healthy thoughts.
No one person can meet your needs. Sometimes we can be stuck in a cycle that no longer work because we want this or that person to make us happy.
In therapy, you can learn how to identify your needs and distinguish different persons who can meet those needs.
Avoid putting yourself in a position where you are dependent on someone to do something or change for you to feel better.
In therapy, you can share openly and honestly without being judged. The therapeutic space is a safe place for you to explore painful feelings and get support to explore resolution. This level of support is often unattainable from family and friends.
Sometimes it’s not safe to share certain information with family and friends. Often when people share, they feel exposed and vulnerable, and this could impact the relationship. Friends and family may not be able to contain whatever it is that you are coping with, and broken trust can be disheartening and adds to the problem.
The days when therapy was considered embarrassing is long gone. If you or someone you know is struggling, get the support of an excellent therapist to help you.