Three Mindset Shifts You Need to Make When Looking For a Therapist (As a Therapist)
2016 was one of the hardest years of my life!
I had just cancelled my wedding 30 days before walking down the isle, moved out of the house I lived in with my son’s father, moved back in with my parents (and baby), was jobless, broke, and started my internship as a therapist at a women’s domestic violence shelter.
Impostor Syndrome was at an all time high within me, and often crept into every single session.
How could I help these women when I felt like I was barely helping myself? This was when I knew it was time to seek therapy.
First shift: You have to be willing and ready to face the truth of your life.
When you begin therapy, it’s important that you go in knowing that you are ready to be 100% open and honest, especially about the things you’re most embarrassed and ashamed to face. The first mindset shift you need to make when looking for a therapist, as a therapist, is that you are ready and willing to actually do the work. It’s hard having to sit in the truth of your life and make sense of it, but it’s a trip worth taking
I was an emotional wreck in 2016, and in hindsight, I wasn’t in the space to really do the work. I wanted to be angry, I wanted to blame, and I wasn’t ready for anyone to tell me that I may benefit from thinking differently about my situation. As a clinician, I knew that I needed therapy, however, there were internal processes that I needed to come to terms with first.
Second shift: You may not find the “ideal” therapist.
Check your ego!
As a clinician, we may struggle with finding a therapist because we’re looking for a specific kind of person who fits into what we believe would be the ideal person for us. This person may not exist, so don’t set yourself up to validate unrealistic expectations when you wind up not finding the “ideal” therapist.
I remember this being a struggle for me. My therapist needed to be black, highly educated, from a Caribbean background, young(ish), and in tune with my specific millennial culture in order to “get me”. This was probably just another way of me justifying why I wasn’t quite ready for therapy. Where was I going to find her?
After realizing that this may be a form of avoidance, I tried someone who was close enough to what I wanted, and it worked out perfectly!
Third Shift: Being in therapy doesn’t mean you aren’t able to help others at the same time.
Think of this as showing up for yourself in the same way we promote this idea to our clients. We vicariously experience all sorts of trauma from our clients stories and experiences on a daily basis. What are we doing with these emotions?
For me, this is a practice of self-care. It’s a space where I can go to talk about all parts of my life without fear of judgment, or always trying to find the right words to say. I can speak freely, reflect, and even use boring therapist jargon to my pleasure. I can really go deep and have my therapist help me along the way. It’s a beautiful relationship!
My clients are able to get the best version of me weekly, and benefit from the growth I am experiencing personally!
Being in therapy doesn’t mean I am less competent or inadequate at my job. It simply makes me a happier and healthier person overall. It’s a win, win!
So if you’ve been thinking about finding a therapist, get your mind ready to shift into a space that allows you to dive in and benefit from the experience.
You’re totally worth it!