A therapist that goes to therapy?

Today, I’ll share some things that I’ve been doing recently to support my mental health.

I’ve been in a very transitional season of life. I was laid off at the end of December and have been going through the hectic process of starting my business. I finished my counseling residency in January and passed my state licensure exam earlier this month. I also live with generalized anxiety and panic disorder.

I’m currently reading The Gift of Therapy by Irvin Yalom. In the book, Yalom recommends that therapists attend therapy periodically throughout their life for self-care and for the learning experience. I became a therapist because therapy was helpful to me when I was in undergrad. Yalom’s suggestions have inspired me to check in on my mental health as I go through this transitional period.

New anxiety medication

I’ve spoken in the past about my experiences with medication for my anxiety. Recently, it became apparent to me that my medication wasn’t really helping my anxiety. It also had some annoying side effects. So a few weeks ago I went to my PCP who switched my medication. Since the change, I definitely feel like a fog has been lifted and I’m happier with the new medication. I did go through some mood swings while tapering off the old medication and starting the new one, but that was to be expected.

Arrogant therapist

Medication + therapy is the gold standard for a lot of mental health issues. With that in mind, I recently used my wife’s EAP to schedule a session with a therapist. ***EAP stands for employee assistance program– a free benefit that most jobs offer. If you need therapy, check with HR at your/your spouse’s job and see if they offer EAP benefits.

Back to my first session with this therapist…

That guy was a jerk! I went into the first session all prepared; more specifically, I clearly described my mental health history, medications, stressors, and coping skills.

You know what he told me? “You’re on medication for your anxiety so there’s not much that talk therapy can do for you.”

Um, wheh!?

I tactfully let him know that a person-centered therapist would have asked me what I wanted to gain out of therapy. I also told him that it was clear from the start of the session that he had no interest in helping me. I’m pretty sure that my candor caught him off guard because when he handed me his business card, I made it crystal clear that I would not be returning for a follow-up.

A couples session with my wife

My wife is also attending individual therapy. Recently, I accompanied her to a session for an impromptu couples session.

My wife and I have been trying to get pregnant since May of last year. More recently, she began to see a fertility doctor. In the session with her therapist, we discussed our recent decision to postpone additional fertility treatments until this fall. My wife plans to use the time until September to work on some health goals (that would be otherwise complicated by a pregnancy) and I will focus on getting my business up and running.

Conclusion

Everyone can benefit from periodic check-ins on their mental health. I learned some new things from my doctor regarding psychotropic medication and I enjoyed meeting my wife’s therapist. I have since found a great EMDR therapist and have noticed some improvements and personal growth. Thanks for reading! If you found this valuable, please share it!

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