A few weeks ago, I posted an Insta-story of me video-chatting a woman (her face covered for anonymity), with a caption that read “Ugh, I wish I could talk to my therapist everyday!”
I posted this for a few reasons:
- The woman was in fact my therapist
- I feel like we don’t talk about therapy a lot on social media (in a positive light at least)
- I wanna make it known that I am not afraid to share the fact that I have a therapist with people
- I knew I would get questions about her
So in this post, I’ll be answering the following questions:
- What is therapy?
- What it isn’t (myths busted)
- What I’m going to therapy for
- How I found my therapist (& how you can find yours)
Despite being an advocate for mental health, to everyone’s surprise (and my surprise also)- my first therapy session (ever) took place only a few weeks ago.
I had never been to therapy before- I’ve always turned to books for answers and self-help, so I’m glad that people asked me to make a blog post about it because there are a lotta things I’ve learned that I wanna share.
What is therapy?
“Therapy involves talking to someone who is trained to help you deal with difficult thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
A therapist can work with you to help you understand what might be causing difficulties and how to overcome them.”
Therapy helps you navigate your feelings, build better behaviors, and relate to your thoughts differently so you can live the life you want.
Keep in mind there are many different types of therapy- I’ll elaborate on the one I chose and why later in this post.
What therapy isn’t (myths busted)
Because of movies, I felt like I had an accurate idea of how therapy sessions went- but was I wrong.
These are some of the beliefs I had prior to my first therapy session.
Myth’s debunked about therapy:
During a therapy session, the client is laying down and talking about current issues they’re going through while the therapist listens.
It’s actually pretty rare to have clients lay down to talk- that’s mostly done for cinematic effect.
Nowadays, you normally speak with your therapist face-to-face (sitting up in chairs), over the phone, online video-chat (that’s how I speak with mine), and there are even options now to text a therapist.
Therapy “fixes” you.
Therapy does not “fix” you because you are not broken.
Therapy helps you change your negative beliefs and the way you cope in certain situations.
“Therapy helps clients uncover strengths and learn new skills that will allow them to deal with the challenges that arise in life,” counselor Crystal Johnson told Talkspace.
“A successful therapy experience does not mean a client is cured, it means the person has the inner and outer resources to deal with the ups and downs of life.”
Therapy isn’t affordable.
The average cost of a therapy session is between $75 – $150.
If that isn’t in your price range, there are more affordable options such as:
- Group therapy (the cost is a fraction of what the individual rates are since you’re in a group)
- Free counseling from schools (if offered)
- Online therapy:
– 7 Cups of Tea (as low as $33 a week depending on plan, also has free options)
–Woebot (app/ popularly used by teens also!)
–Sibly (app/ help for employees)
- There are also low-cost/no-cost support groups in your area (You can dial 2-1-1 to find a community mental health center near you or check out the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website)
- You can also find support groups on [MeetUp]
- If you are in a *crisis*, there’s a FREE crisis text line (to connect you to a trained counselor that helps people move from a hot moment to a cool calm & guides you to create a plan to stay safe and healthy) [Click Here]
Therapists fit the “blank screen” cliche of barely engaging with clients/just letting them do the talking.
Talkspace spoke with therapist Donna Corbett, who offered an accurate description of how active therapists are.
“Therapy is an interactive process because it is a relationship,” she said.
“In the beginning, I may speak less or ask more questions as I am getting to know my patient but as time goes on, I do share my thoughts when it will be helpful.”
I’ll elaborate on my personal experience below that supports this, because it was SO different than what I expected.
Therapists tell you what to do.
Therapists will guide you to solutions they believe are best, but they won’t directly suggest things.
It’s ultimately up to the client to apply what they learn during the session.
This picture is the perfect depiction of how it’s like speaking to a therapist:
What I’m going to therapy for
Oh yes, the tea is scorching today sis.
I’d like to first point out that you can go to therapy for ANYTHING.
If you’re deathly afraid of spiders, if you just moved to a new city and need help coping with the culture shock, you can even go to therapy to practice new skills like mindfulness and calm breathing- anything!
What I’m going to therapy for: Being cheated on in every single relationship I’ve ever been in (I told you the tea was hot!).
Specifically, I’m seeing a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist.
In a nutshell, I have trust issues/PISD (Post-infidelity stress disorder) which is a branch of PTSD [I wrote more about it in my Trust Issues Post] and Cognitive Behavioral therapy helps me with those issues.
[CBT] focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems.
I’ll give you a specific example:
When my ex was cheating on me, his method of trying to hide it was turning his phone off and saying it died.
(I’m using this example because it’s a common excuse I’ve seen with other cheaters, too!).
So, when he was meeting up with his side-pieces, he’d turn his phone off.
Some of you may ask how I know this information was a fact- after me and my ex broke up, he spilled alllll the beans and told me everything he lied about and what he did behind my back the entire 2 years we were together
(I don’t know why I even thought I needed this closure at the time, but hey, now I can share this info with the world).
Okay so back to my PISD- because I had this piece of information from my ex, my mind kinda took that info and ran with it- even YEARS after the split.
And even with a different boyfriend (one who is the most loyal, sweet, angelic human ever)- I was still running around with that belief.
You guys: every time my (current) boyfriend’s phone died, I freaked out.
Freaked out like: my heart was pounding, I would pace back and forth, and distorted thoughts like “Omg he’s cheating on me right now” would flood my mind like Hurricane Katrina (and would not stop until I spoke with him and he calmed me down).
I could ask my man to go to the store real quick to grab tampons, and if his phone died while he was out getting them, I would automatically assume he was cheating.
Or back in college when his phone died in class, anywhere.
If you guys remember the scene in White Chicks where the girl questions her man when he gets home 6 minutes later than his usual time, that’s how I was (and that’s a form of PISD/what CBT can help with).
If you’re not familiar with the scene, you can watch the short clip: [HERE]
It’s crazy because almost every girl I know has either experienced this before or still reacts in this way.
We see all these memes about “being crazy” and laugh because they’re so relatable, but in reality- those memes reflect our intrusive and distortive thoughts caused by either direct infidelity, or even just by hearing about it in general.
My therapist helps me fight those negative thoughts when they flood my mind.
Through therapy, she was able to see where those thoughts originated from just by asking me a few questions and having me talk about my current relationship and my past ones.
She’s 100% interactive: she’s given me “homework” to do in between our sessions that involve filling out charts and practicing certain skills. (CBT is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving)
I found these skills so helpful- and this is coming from someone who’s read a ton of relationship books.
I honestly didn’t know there were actual methods to combat these negative thoughts. We have to “train” our minds to react in the ways we want.
And going to therapy gave me an explanation for my thoughts, a game plan, and most importantly- a cheerleader.
Also to answer questions about a cyber therapy session: we meet online via GoogleHangout (on my computer at home & in the evenings) because I can’t take time off work to go to an in-person session throughout the week.
It’s important to ask a potential therapist about their schedule because most don’t do weekends or off 9-to-5 hours.
Ask this question first so it can weed out your list of therapists in the beginning!
I’ve taken so much away from my therapy sessions and I wish I could yell “I LOVE THERAPY” from the top of a mountain so that everyone can know how helpful it can be for them too.
It has single-handedly brought my relationship to new heights, and my boyfriend and I are closer than we’ve ever been before.
Therapists aren’t people who you “pay to pretend to care about you”, therapists are people you pay to teach you how to care for yourself.
Therapy changed my life and that was only one aspect of it (like I stated earlier, you can go to therapy for ANYTHING).
With that being said, here’s how I found my therapist, and how you can find yours:
I love this site because:
- You can search via zipcode
- There are filters to sort through what you’re specifically looking for, the insurance you have, the gender (of the therapist you want), age group, language (like this:)
- Then once you click on the therapist, you can see their prices, location, availability, and you can also read (or watch a video) on their “Approach to helping” to see if it resonates with you
These are some of the traits to look for in a therapist:
I hope this post gave you a better idea of what therapy is like. And I hope it crushed all the negative stigmas associated with the term.
If you have any more questions on this topic, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me or direct message me on any social media platform! I am more than happy to answer any further questions.
** update ** after I posted this, a ton of people reached out and said this was helpful, but didn’t know where to start. Click this link below if you’re unsure about where to start (with therapy). Hope this helps!
If you think you’d benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, this is a book I highly, highly recommend (to get a better understanding of it and to use the tools taught in my therapy sessions but at a cheaper price).
You can get the book [HERE]
Thank you guys for allowing me to share my stories with you!