Finding the right counselling for you: How therapy is like dating

Searching for a therapist that is trauma informed. Getting the ick and letting go.

I have therapy. #therapy

This is hardly a shocking statement.

But I haven’t actually had lots of therapy throughout my life.

When talking to some friends I have been quite open about this development and I think counselling or therapy can be fantastic for many people. In fact, I’d recommend it.

However, as much as I hate myself for saying it, there is shame surrounding this for me. I wish there wasn’t.

Happy that I do this, I believe everyone should be able to be open about attending therapy, if they want to be, BUT…
There’s an added element when it comes to writing about it on the internet!

Somehow, it being recorded there for all eternity feels scary (I can be a little dramatic!)
Wanting to create boundaries on what you put out there is completely understandable.

I refer to counselling in my poetry and definitely skirt around it, but rarely write about it as me — without poetic licence and ambiguity.

So, here we are. I have therapy and I find it valuable.

The important thing, though, is that you have therapy with someone you trust and have some sort of a connection with. Maybe even just the trust — basic. And you don’t even have to trust them straight away (as that can be hard), but feeling instinctively that they know what they’re doing is important.

I didn’t really like a therapist I had. Nothing against that particular person, and she didn’t necessarily do anything ‘wrong’, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Counsellors are trained not to take it personally if we feel that way, because it’s not about them — it’s about what best helps you. It’s not the sort of relationship where they’d mind or feel ‘dumped’.

Not a friendship. A one — way thing.
You don’t know them.

I wasn’t in a position where I was choosing a therapist (as it was through our national health service) and I was unsure what would happen if I let my feelings be known — in a straightforward, dignified way. So, I spent the time WANTING TO BE POLITE and not wanting to offend. At my own expense.

Sensing she was newer in the role, I didn’t want there to be any judgement. It wasn’t about the person, but I often felt she didn’t ‘get me’. Maybe she felt it too.

At the time I was concerned that if I spoke up she would say I was ‘resisting’ in therapy, because often I looked for a way out if things or topics were difficult. But much of that was about the lack of trust that I had!

I got to the stage where she wanted us to review our time together. I felt I just couldn’t.

Thinking I would hurt her or that she wouldn’t see my feelings as real (but supressing something), I had felt angry for weeks over me keeping it bottled in. I wouldn’t recommend this!

Shaming myself over my feelings, I even feel a little guilt writing this.

Not the right ‘fit’

Sometimes someone isn’t trauma informed (or you, I, perceive that to be the case). Sometimes you want to be kind and keep ‘giving it another try’. This did not bode well for me.

Trauma survivors can often doubt themselves and that was a huge obstacle for me. ‘Are my feelings unreasonable? Do I have to show I’ve committed to this? I’ve stuck at it so far.’

What will they say?

Plus, being allocated a counsellor after a wait and not knowing if there was even another option (or if I would be viewed as ‘difficult’) didn’t help.

Talking through some situations did help and there were times I liked and warmed to the therapist, but my gut knew deep down what it had known from the first few weeks. Perhaps, this was part of the process and it moved me slowly towards a better situation in the future.

What I wanted to say was that, if you are able to choose a therapist, your instinct is vital.. and valid. Feeling validated, heard and respected is important.
Your gut will tell you what you need to know.
Do you trust this person? Have you felt heard in session? The vibe, connection.. is it there?

To some, that may sound very non — specific, but on a date or at the start of a friendship you get a feeling about someone. If your body tells you ‘ick, I could never open up to this person.. even after years or months. I don’t feel that they know what they are doing. I don’t feel they have my best interests at heart..’ then NO

I kept trying to convince myself.

Just NO.

#taratalks #mentalhealth #blog

Image credit: Canva

Mental Health Blogger and Poet

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