Bringing My Whole Self to Therapy

A few months ago, a big part of my mental health routine was thrown off pretty heavily when I had to abruptly stop seeing my therapist. Since this happened more for administrative reasons than incompatibility, I felt a little disappointed that we couldn’t continue with the progress I felt I was making in the almost year I’d been seeing this therapist. But in the past few months, I’ve been able to connect with a new therapist and start working toward goals of mental wellness and healthiness. It’s been interesting adapting to this new situation, and it’s reminded me of a few things about adapting to changes when you see a new therapist.

One thing I often forget when I see a new therapist is that, unlike what could happen in other areas of the medical field, this person doesn’t know my history. In this environment, it’s up to me to inform them about what’s going on with me, what my history is with mental health and mental illness and how I’d like to live a healthier life. It sounds discouraging to hear at times, but so much of the work you do in therapy is based on how much you put into it. And when you see a new therapist, that cycle starts again.

A big mistake I made earlier on my mental health journey was treating all my therapists the same. In my head, my problems were always the same, which meant the solutions were going to be the same. If I saw a new therapist, I just had to fill them in on where I was at with my progress and we could keep on moving forward.

This approach was fine the first few times, but it wasn’t very helpful in the long run as I saw more therapists and my goals shifted. I wasn’t making adjustments to my new therapists, and the consequence of that is that you never really get to know this person you’re talking to every week who is also trying to help you improve. Every therapist, and every therapy session, is a unique opportunity for growth and self-improvement.

Some weeks in therapy, I want to work on self-improvement; other weeks I’m melting down from anxiety and I need to get things off my chest. Other times I’m sad and don’t want to say much else outside of that. But the key thing I try to remember now is that when I enter that space my goal is to be 100 percent myself. I want to bring my whole self to therapy every time I go, because that’s the only way I can get the most value out of the experience. To be honest, there isn’t much else I expect from myself in these sessions. I know that if I bring my whole, authentic self, the path toward wellness is much easier to recognize and work toward.

How about you? What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced in seeing a new therapist? Let me know in the comments below!

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