This is a two part series: Find a Therapist- The Why and How of Regular Therapy, I want to share with you my experience with therapy and give you some tips on how to find a therapist.

*Note I use the terms therapy and counseling interchangeably in these posts. Here is a definition from PsychCentral that explains what I am referring to.

Psychotherapy — also called talk therapy, therapy, or counseling — is a process focused on helping you heal and learn more constructive ways to deal with the problems or issues within your life.   

Depression and anxiety does not just disappear. Whether you’ve been in treatment before or if you are looking for answers for the first time, I hope that the following narrative can give you a little push in the right direction.

Over the last 16 or so years I have seen several counselors and therapists. I started in college and was very fortunate to have access to a wonderful counselor right on campus through the health center. At that time I was dealing with the pressures of becoming an adult, the changing of my world view brought on by the events of 9/11, and I was beginning to recognize my anxiety and depression for the first time.

The next years brought on the changes of marriage, moving to Ohio, the stress of being in graduate school, and eventually the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and learning to live with a chronic illness. I was anxious, depressed, insecure, and not coping with stress in helpful or healthy ways. I visited several counselors and therapists, but could not find anyone that I found as helpful as the counseling I received while in college.

I now understand that different therapists have different treatment modalities that they use with their clients. The therapists I was not clicking with were not necessarily bad at their job, but their treatment approach was not in line with how I think and react to to my various issues.

In the fall of 2008 I was admitted to Harding Hospital for 5 days and then participated in the Intensive Outpatient Program. With the help of the staff at Harding Hospital I was able to follow recommendations and connect with a counselor who I worked well with. I was able to deal with my immediate complications of living with chronic illness, as well as address my anxiety. We worked together for quite awhile I learned skills in mindfullness, talked through a lot of the emotional issues I was dealing with, and was eventually released from his care with the directive to call if I needed to see him again.

When I started to really sink into my depression again last fall I really thought about finding a new therapist, but I talked myself out of it. I didn’t want to rehash all the old problems I’ve been dealing with for years. However, there were all kinds of coping techniques I was forgetting, I was not recognizing my negative self talk, and this lack of treatment resulted in another round of PHP and IOP. I talked last week about establishing a routine while I participated in my program, and I knew a very important part of my routine needed to be finding a therapist and attending regular therapy.

Tomorrow I will post about why someone may seek out therapy and how to find a therapist so keep an eye out!