So can you recommend a good therapist for me? Those words have been spoken by millions of people in the world. Most often it is asked of people we trust, as picking a name out of a book just doesn’t feel right. Hey it is not to say that it won’t work. My last therapist in New Jersey was picked from a website and she was one of the best I have had to date. But now that I am in Utah I need to find a new one.
I dread it, I really do. It feels like I have to go through it all again, family history-who was nuts, who wasn’t. How is my marriage, how are my kids, blah, blah blah. I realize it is my desire to avoid that process, which is why it has taken me over three months to even ask the question. Today is the day that I needed to ask the question because I saw some stuff in myself this last week that had me feeling like I was falling back into some old patterns, and I want to stay on top of it.
So today, as I would say, “I sucked it up buttercup” and reached out to the two people that I trust the most with regard to my mental health and the relationship I have with my family. The first is my sons therapist from residential treatment and the second is my parent trainer. Not only do I trust them impeccably, but I am hoping that they know someone with whom I would “Click”.
“The Click” is hard to describe, you know, you just click. It is vital and necessary for me in any relationship, especially in a therapeutic one. It would be great if there was a checklist for it, but there isn’t, it is a feeling. I know it when it happens. I meet a new person, and automatically feel like she has known me forever and “gets me” and the words flow easily back and forth. It feels more connected than say a neighbor or co-worker, and the element of trust is heavily involved. When I feel that someone “gets me with all my weirdness” and doesn’t judge me that is when the Click happens.
In the past I failed to listen to my inner voice telling me the therapist I chose wasn’t right for me or my son. I ignored the “click” and instead focused on the education and the list of diagnosis’s they treated. I figured it must be me, and I went against my inner voice and continued forward, wasting everyone’s time.
The funniest or saddest situation, depending upon how you look at it was the time my husband and I were in couples counseling. At that time the only thing that we were agreeing on was that the therapist we were seeing was judgmental and neither one of us really cared for her. And after each session we would decide which one of us was her shit list that week. Talk about messed up, we were bonding over our common disgust for the therapist-Funny yes; brought us closer, yes; helped us with our issues, no. Does that mean she was a bad therapist, no-she just wasn’t good for us.
This dance over the years made me feel like I was a bit nuts. When I attempted to pursue the concept that something was being missed, I was continually dismissed and made to feel like I was overreacting and being one of those nutty helicopter parents. When I said the medication didn’t work, they looked at me like it wasn’t possible. I was intimidated by almost all of the mental health professionals we sought treatment from, for both myself and my son.
I now know the truth. I never really trusted them and because of that I was never fully honest about how I was feeling. I didn’t speak up and let them know that I felt that my needs weren’t being met, that I was intimidated, and felt dismissed. For me- No Click, means No Trust, which means No Progress.
Through this journey I lost confidence in myself and my ability to be a parent. I often joke, you never want to piss off the guy renovating your house because you never know what he is going to stuff behind the sheet rock. I felt similar with therapists. I didn’t want to make them angry, question them, or piss them off because they were inside both my sons and my head and I didn’t know what they were going to leave in there. I know is sound weird, but hey no one said every feeling is rational or logical.
So again I am on my quest for a new therapist, and this time is isn’t because I didn’t click with the last, it is because I moved across the country. However what is different now is I trust the people whom I am asking a recommendation from, and I have much more confidence in myself and my ability to speak up than I did over a year ago. I know that I have the power to say Yes or No and I am the one who gets to decide. I will no longer feel intimidated or afraid of speaking my mind. My hope is, that all the others that have ever felt similar find their courage and voice as I have.