This is Part 2 of Erin’s interview. Check out Part 1!
You mentioned how some therapists were more helpful than others. When you were looking for a good therapist, how did go about finding someone who would help you?For me, I would usually give it 2-3 sessions before I would decide if I wanted to continue with that therapist. If by 3 sessions, I wasn’t feeling more empowered or if they didn’t have any insight into my situation, I would move on. I really needed a therapist who would lend me some objectivity because sometimes things get all rattled around in my head. These thoughts never see the light of day and I never take them out and look at them objectively. So I need someone to give me a more objective way of looking at things and to give me tools to cope better. If I felt like I wasn’t getting that by the 3rd visit, I would move on and try someone different.
Did you experience any stigma either externally or internally?I don’t think so. I think counseling is a healthy thing to do and better than staying depressed and staying angry or hopeless. For me, I didn’t feel a ton of stigma surrounding it. But I also think that there is a financial component to it; I have been lucky to have insurance and my benefits will often cover most if not all of my counseling. If I had to pay for that out of pocket, I might be less apt to go because it would be expensive. For me, the fact that it was generally free-ish (maybe pay a copay) was a factor. Maybe stigma isn’t the right word. But there can be a financial burden associated with it that makes therapy not an option for some people. I didn’t really feel a stigma. I felt that it was a good thing that I should be doing.
Looking back at your experiences with therapy, is there anything you wish you could go back and change?I wish that I had been more brave and forthcoming to share more with my therapist. There is a piece of me that feels like they might judge me. There are things that I should have shared. I think I would have gotten more out of counseling if I had been brutally honest. There were times when I felt like I went to counseling with the wrong motives. I know someone who went to marriage counseling for the sole purpose of being told that she was right and that her husband was wrong. That just doesn’t make for effective counseling if your motivation is to show how happy you are or that you are living the best life you can despite your problem. I think I short-changed myself by not being more honest because they’re not going to judge you. But so what if they walk away from that session thinking you’re a freak or that you’re selfish. So, that is one regret that I have that I might have cared too much about what my therapist thought. Thank you, Erin, for your openness and honesty! If you are in the process of finding a therapist, check out our Resources page to learn more about local counseling options.