Tue. Sep 29th, 2020

Anais ForReal

Straight No Chaser

Tips For Gifting Yourself a Therapist, This Holiday Season

5 min read
Photo by LinaVeresk on Reshot

Photo by LinaVeresk on Reshot

I initially started my journey to find a therapist in March of 2019. I was caring for my father, and I knew I would need help managing the grief if he didn’t survive. There was a therapy service connected to my job, but I had specific requirements. Those requirements were that my therapist be a black woman. So I used Therapy For Black Girls to start my search.

My need for a black woman therapist meant I would have to pay out of pocket instead of using my company benefits. It was not ideal, but my need for a black woman therapist was just that important to me. I felt as if someone that was not like me could never relate to my issues.

When you realize therapy is a path that you want to take, you should have some goals you’d like to accomplish with the experience. I originally went into this because I wanted to deal with grief due to the death of my dad and related issues. I also figured I would tackle other issues related to my childhood as well while I was unboxing. You should additionally have an end goal. My end goals were the following:

🔸Understand the choices I’ve made about interpersonal relationships.
🔸Gain some guidance on where I need to go with future interpersonal relationships.
🔸Unravel difficulties of my untraditional childhood.
🔸Determine how my childhood impacted my adulthood.
🔸Understand if I’ve been making good choices in dealing with challenging family dynamics.
🔸Ultimately becoming a more evolved person in tune with who I am through understanding why I do what I do.

Friends that had gone to therapy advised that sometimes finding a therapist that fit our needs could take a while and that I might not find a perfect fit at my first selection. So, I was lucky and blessed to get my therapist.

When I started looking for a therapist, three black women grabbed my attention. I was heavily leaning toward one because I felt like she had a focus on the areas that I wanted to tackle. I reached out to two of them by way of email and had email and or phone discussions with them. Although I got a good vibe from both, I still felt a strong pull toward the third therapist. Unfortunately, she didn’t have any open spots. I was disappointed, but soon life got pretty complicated. I had to put the entire process on hold.

A few months later, after enduring the toughest three months of my life, the therapist I wanted circled back to me. She contacted me with an opening by email. I was happy I’d added my name to her waiting list after speaking to her on the phone because I got a good vibe from her just from the telephone conversation.

During our conversation, there was a LOT of background noise, like she was at the park or something. For me, that was comforting because she seemed like a regular person and not this otherworldly being with magical unicorn powers. Some might not have been comforted by that, but I was. So we set up a day to meet.

The thought of therapy can be uncomfortable, so when making your selection, you should have a good vibe from them. You don’t have to go with the first therapist you speak with at all. You can talk to multiple therapists until you find one you feel comfortable with, and that gives you a good vibe. Trust your instincts.

Since I am one who overthinks everything, I wanted to know what the first session would involve. I talked to a friend that was currently in therapy. Some of those things I needed to know, were as follows:

🔸What would the expectation be?
🔸What would she ask me?
🔸How far would she dive into my past?
🔸Would she probe areas I were not ready to be unboxed?
🔸How much control would I have over the unboxing of my most personal tea?

So now that I had all of the overthinking addressed, I was ready to meet this therapist, spill my life’s tea and allow her to help me unravel and gain an understanding of things, that so far have been beyond my capabilities.

I got lost on my way to the office, but when I finally made it to the office, it was inviting and clean. It smelled good when I walked in, and there was a peacefulness about the space. All of that put me at ease initially and has been calming for all of my visits.

When I met her, she had a friendly, almost angelic face with a very calm and serene way about her. That was initially very comforting. My good vibe continued from our emails and phone conversation. So I was at ease immediately. It helps to have a comfort level with the person that you will be talking to about the most personal aspects of your life, past, present, and possibly future.

She has a calmness but is still, a straight no chaser sista’, and I love that because that’s what I need. Therapists are NOT your friends, and they will not handle you as your friends would. Your friends are on your team, so they will be rooting for you. Your therapist is also rooting for you if they are a good therapist. The difference is, they are going to tell you what you NEED to hear versus what you may WANT to hear.

When seeking this therapist, it wasn’t due to being horribly broken. It was me recognizing that there were areas I needed help in, that were beyond my capabilities to gain clarity.

Seeking a therapist at a time in my life when I was struggling with grief allowed me to recognize that there were other areas in my life that I needed clarity. That’s what the past few months have been about, and it has been one of the most amazing things I could have done for myself. I now consider it a form of self-care.

Therapy has opened the door to many more things I will be doing in the name of self-care to become a much more in-tuned person connected to who I am on a different level. I will be adding meditation and yoga to my therapy routine in early 2020. Why not go all-in for myself? I deserve it.

YOU, too, deserve to be at peace with who you are. I’ve found this peace has only been possible with therapy. Naturally, I want to share this kind of peace and love. So, if you are in need, you should gift yourself a few sessions of therapy to experience this true peace and love with me.

If you do so, I would love to know about your journey.  Reach out, let’s chat on FBIG, and Twitter . Until next time, Happy Healing.

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