As I mentioned in this post Vulnerability , I wanted to work on becoming more comfortable with vulnerability. Dr. Brene Brown’s TED Talk showed me that I still had a good amount of work to do. Recently, I started going to see a therapist again. Since this was one of the main ways that helped Dr. Brown to become comfortable with vulnerability, I thought I would give it a try. Usually when I went to therapy in the past, it was when I was in some form of crisis. I know that as a training clinician, I should go to therapy on a regular basis to at least take some time to check in with myself, emotions, how I’m coping with things, etc. but I always used to put it off until I was at a very low point, which was usually burnout or some other major issue. When I finally got into therapy, I felt horrible and did not really feel motivated to do anything. The beginning sessions were mostly focused on getting to me to a point of wanting to do work and feeling decent.
This time around, I still procrastinated for a few days on going to therapy for vulnerability since I was not in a crisis. Then I remembered how much harder the entire process was whenever I procrastinated. So, I made an appointment with my university’s counseling center. At first, I was really nervous about going to therapy because I did not know what I was going to uncover and reveal about myself. My previous experiences with therapy were helpful, nothing horrible happened but I was still nervous and anxious. I just wanted to get it all over with. After *my intake appointment, I felt free, which is something I never felt after a counseling appointment in the past. I was also able to fully recognize my strengths instead of focusing on getting out of some type of crisis. Even though I cried during the appointment, I felt happy and validated afterwards. Usually after opening up to people, I immediately regret it but, on that day, I didn’t regret it.
In the following sessions, my anxiety decreased, and I started feeling excited to go to counseling. It feels so freeing and relaxing to just talk about myself, learn about myself, and feel comfortable with my full self for 50 minutes without anyone interrupting me, invalidating me, misunderstanding me, lecturing me, or making it about them. It feels great to talk about anything and actually be listened to and understood. Sometimes I forget I am in counseling because the conversation seems so natural and the atmosphere is so relaxed and welcoming. My therapist challenges (within reasonable means) and validates me. Instead of shutting down when she challenges to be vulnerable or dig a little deeper, I follow through with the challenge, which sometimes causes me to cry. Then she validates my experience and thanks me for opening up. She also incorporates mindfulness and a little humor which helps me to relax and stay in my body. There are only a few more sessions left, which I am kind of sad about, but I do plan to continue therapy with a therapist somewhere in my area when these sessions are done.
Time to Focus on You:
What are your experiences with therapy? What aspects of it made it helpful and/or not helpful?
Sidenote: If you are a college or graduate student or alumni and want to seek counseling for whatever issue (doesn’t have to a major crisis), check to see if your school has a counseling center. Usually they offer a few free sessions (not really free cause you already paying for them through your tuition) and if you need more sessions, they are supposed to be able to offer a few suggestions of therapists in the area.
*An intake appointment is usually when the therapist gathers background information on a client such as family background, culture, any previous experiences with therapy and/or mental illness, past traumas, any substance use, reason(s) why you are seeking therapy, etc.
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