In my life, I’ve experienced a number of different therapies and therapists. Some good and some not so good, but I’ve always maintained that if you find the right therapist for you, then it’s extremely rewarding.
My first experience with therapy was when I was in high school, I think I was around 14 at the time. I’d been referred by my form tutor to the school counsellor who came in a couple of days a week and sat in this pokey little office. The lady who did the counselling was lovely, but she was very much of the mind set that “this is nothing more than puberty” which didn’t really do me a lot of good and put me off therapy for quite a few years.
Around 18/19 I had a bit of a breakdown, and ended up going to see my GP and just word vomiting everything that I felt. The GP was shocked that I’d be dealing with these feelings for so long, but as I said, I’d been told it was just my hormones so I didn’t want to make a fuss. The GP signed me off work for a while, put me on some anti depressants and put me forwards for some CBT and some stress seminar (I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I basically sat in a room with 20 other people going through different ways to handle stress in different situations.
The CBT was once a week and I did it for around 12 weeks, it was the same woman each time and we did what I assume are typical CBT practices. For those of you that don’t know, CBT stands for cognitive behaviour therapy. In CBT you try to change the way you think and behave in certain situations, it’s most commonly use for anxiety and depression but can be used for other things as well. I found the CBT helpful in a lot of senses, but I still didn’t find that it helped me as much as it should.
I’ve always said to anyone I know that CBT didn’t necessarily work for me, but I know lots of people that rave about it and so it’s definitely worth giving a go.
So after the CBT I was better for a while, but in CBT you concentrate on the now and the future and I felt like I needed to talk to someone about the past and now. That’s when I decided to look for a private therapist, I knew it wouldn’t be cheap but I knew that I needed it.
So I looked at all the therapists in my area and sent them all an email just outlining a few of my problems and what I wanted to gain from the therapy. A few of them came back to me, but only one stood out. I ended up meeting with an incredible therapist called Chloe, who changed my whole perspective on therapy. Chloe was kind and understanding, but she also wasn’t afraid to say “well that’s shit” and that’s exactly what I needed at the time.
I did find that I’d come out of the therapy, feeling absolutely exhausted, but I think that’s the sign of good therapy. It meant that I was able to offload all my thoughts and feelings and get some helpful feedback. One particular session I remember, is where chloe had a bag of buttons. With the biggest buttons, she made me assign them to people in my life and then with the smaller buttons I had to assign how much of my time and effort I put into them and then we took a picture. Then with the same people, I had to use the smaller buttons to assign how much time and effort I felt people put into me and we took a picture.
We then compared the two pictures, and it was obvious I put a lot more effort into people than I felt I got back. We then went through why I always gave more than I got back and why I needed to change that. It made me burst into tears, because I didn’t realise at the time just how alone I felt.
Due to unforseen circumstances and moving away, I ended up having to stop my sessions with Chloe and I miss her. I think it’s understandable to miss someone like your therapist, because they become such a big part of your life. If I still lived in Ipswich, I would pay to see her again in a heart beat.
I plan on going back to therapy one day, and I’m also interested in EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to help with my birth trauma. I honestly rave about therapy to anyone that will listen to me, it’s one of the best decisions I made and if you can afford it then I’d definitely look into finding a therapist even if you don’t feel like you need one. Because just having someone to talk to about everything and anything, that will have no judgement, is an amazingly healing experience.