Shhh…“Therapy” used to be a word that was spoken in hushed tones, if it was spoken about at all. There was such a stigma attached and it was instantly assumed that you were unwell if you sought out a therapist or counselor.
Thankfully that stigma is beginning to lift. In fact, in my opinion, I think there’s great strength in asking for help and seeking out the perfect therapist. But once you’ve decided you need or want one, how do you find one?
Find a Biblical Therapist: When I sought a counselor to help me with grief and PTSD after the end of my first marriage (and all the trauma that went with it), I knew I needed someone whose beliefs aligned with mine. Although secular therapists can be just as capable and effective as Biblical, it was important to me to have someone whose beliefs matched mine. I felt this would be better and more meaningful for me personally. I wanted someone to counsel me on my experiences while reinforcing Biblical principles to work towards healing. I was new in town when I found my incredible therapist. I had to research providers in my area and inquire about their beliefs and manner of counseling before making my decision.
Interview Them: Like I mentioned above, I asked questions before making an appointment with a counselor. What kind of counseling do they provide? Are they willing to allow you to bring a second person on occasion (like a spouse or parent, someone who will aid in your healing process)? How difficult are they to make an appointment with? Are they gone often? What are the policies for reaching them if you’re in crisis? Can they write prescriptions if necessary?
Do You Have Common Goals?: There should be common goals in therapy: healing from abuse, marital reconciliation, family therapy, and so on. Your potential therapist should openly express that the goal of therapy is eventually not to be dependent on it. While you can’t say “You’ll be on your own in three months”, you don’t want therapy to go on indefinitely. You want to be able to go it alone at some point and not be dependent on the counseling, although I think the door should definitely remain open for you to return on an as-needed basis should things occur.
Can You Afford Them: Check the provider’s costs. In the States, we have health insurance coverage or self-pay to consider. If you don’t have health insurance to cover the cost, please be open about that. Let the provider know you’re in need of their services but that you’re on a budget (if you are). Many will work with you on the cost and charge you based on your income.
Please don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s strength in knowing you need some support and an expert to help sort things out for you. If you’re married and you and your spouse are experiencing some strife, seeking counseling does not mean your marriage is doomed. Quite the contrary. It’s a really healthy step!
Many people balk at the thought of counseling. They don’t want to “air their dirty” laundry with a stranger. Let me tell you, it’s much easier to air your grievances with an unbiased, trained individual who’s “seen it all” and knows how to deal with it. You do need that impartial person who’s not involved in your relationships to offer skilled thoughts and tools to help you into a better place.
There is absolutely no shame in seeking help. It’s healthy. If you broke your arm, you wouldn’t hide it and let it heal crooked without intervention, so don’t be afraid to get help for the mental or emotional things that require some guidance and TLC.
Meet Melanie P. :
Melanie Pickett is a mom, wife, writer, blogger, and Jesus girl. Melanie spends most of her time at her own blog, melaniespickett.com where she writes about her domestic abuse survival, healthy relationships, life, and faith. She is busy with her work in progress, her first nonfiction book. Melanie has been featured on BlogHer.com and published on Splickety Magazine, Whole Magazine, Breathe Writers Conference blog, and various other blogs as a guest writer. She is a volunteer at Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies. Having worked in the medical field for nearly two decades, Melanie recently “retired” so she could concentrate on her family and writing career. She is also a substitute teacher. Besides writing, Melanie loves to read, travel, enjoys hockey, playing piano, listening to music, helping and encouraging others, speaking on Periscope, volunteering, movies, and hanging out and cheering on her very favorite people: her family. Melanie lives in west Michigan with her husband, two teen children, and her pug Gracie and beabrador Lillie. Her favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 and one of her favorite quotes is: “They call us the dreamers, but we’re the ones who never sleep.”