Therapy: A View from the Couch
Welcome back, ladies! I want to start by saying thank you for being willing to acknowledge the truth of where you are at and for being open to the possibility that healing is available to you, given you are willing to take some steps forward. The decision to act is a significant step! One question I am often asked is, “Okay, so I get that I have some things to work on, but where do I go from here?” Most often my response is, “Have you considered therapy?”
Therapy...that’s an intimidating word. The definition of therapy is "treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder". Disorder…there’s another intimidating word. A word that carries with it fear or shame. But what if, instead of focusing on the word “disorder”, you focused on two very powerful words in that definition...RELIEVE OR HEAL.
What if you focused on two very powerful words in that definition...RELIEVE OR HEAL.
When we have a medical need, we go to a doctor to find relief or healing. Therapy can be the same for you, but unfortunately carries a different stigma. It is a lot easier to say we go to the doctor than it is to admit we go to therapy. Therapy requires vulnerability and that often scares each of us away from seeking the help we need.
In an effort to soften the word therapy, maybe it would ease your mind if I shared my own experience with you. I have personally experienced the healing benefits of therapy on several different occasions. Yes, a counselor who pursued counseling. The most significant benefit took place this last year. In March of 2018 I found myself in a desperate place. I’ll save the major details for my next blog but, in short, I deal daily with anxiety. Also, my husband and I went through six years of infertility, lost four babies, and, despite being blessed with a miracle baby boy, I was still struggling to find peace with my journey. My family had also gone through a significant trauma and I was finding myself gaining weight rapidly and feeling very out of control in managing my emotions.
It was then that I had a "come to Jesus meeting" with myself and knew I needed to seek professional help. Despite my years of experience and training, determining my next step was still a difficult one to make. After discussing this decision with my husband and family, I began my search for a counselor that had experience dealing with food disorders and found an option that seemed to suit everything I was looking for. I emailed the counselor and scheduled my first session. It was getting past the hurdle of reaching out and going to that first session that led to the following results.
Over the course of the next 11 months, I found a place that taught me to accept myself and the trauma I had been through and in that process I lost 40 pounds of physical weight, but spiritual and mental weight, as well. This therapist taught me ways of quieting my mind and grounding myself in the truth of who God made me to be. She gave me coping skills to use when I felt out of control. She taught me how to love myself when I felt anything less than perfect.
As I look back, what amazes me about the timing of this experience. Now I can see that God, through my faith in reaching out, led me to the help He knew I was going to need to make it through some very critical months for my family. You see, it was during this time of therapy that my husband and I felt the call to move to a new ministry position outside of our home state. It was also during this time that we lost our fifth baby. I truly believe God was pushing me to work on myself so that, in this major time of transition, I would have the courage to push forward and trust His will.
Even though I still struggle, it is God and the tools I have learned in therapy that carry me through when I feel very lonely and insecure in my new world. I am so thankful for that experience and believe that it is there for you, if that is a step you feel God is leading you to take.
So, how do I pursue my own journey of healing?
To help you in your journey, here are some steps for deciding if therapy is right for you and for finding a therapist:
First, if you are feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, or have previous trauma that you have not yet dealt with, find a close friend or a mentor that you can trust to share your concerns with privately and that can stand with you in your search for resources. Next, since finances are often a concern when it comes to therapy, I have found that reaching out to your local churches, your children’s school counselor, or your medical doctor can help you gather information regarding sliding scale fees and therapist options in your community. After that, make a list of characteristics you want in a therapist so that, when you are given suggestions, you can research their website or send them an email, detailing what you are looking for in a therapist and find the right fit for you. Lastly, have an open mind. Ask yourself, "what is holding me back from seeking the help I need?" Instead of focusing on the fear of therapy, focus on the hope of healing! It’s waiting for you!
Therapy: A View from the Couch. is Entry TWO of Sanctuary's August series, "Saying Farewell to Fine", from ministry wife, counselor, and guest blogger Karmen Wilson. Don't miss one week of this authentic, behind-the-surface series. Take a moment today to share this insight with a friend. Let's say "farewell to fine".
Karmen Wilson has been a Licensed Professional Counselor for 12 years and worked as an elementary school counselor for ten of those years. She and her husband Cameron have been married for 11 years and have served in a ministry staff role, off and on, throughout their marriage, totaling about six years--Cameron in production and Karmen in teaching and small groups. The Wilson family recently moved to Los Angeles, CA where Cameron is the Production Director for Vintage Church. Together they are both passionate about following God's call on their lives and creating authentic relationships and community through church. In their free time, they keep busy playing cars and going to parks with their vibrant two-year-old son, Jaxson. They also love going to the beach and driving around, finding cool restaurants and attractions in L.A.! Karmen has a passion for helping individuals in the areas of self-discovery, healing past hurts, infertility, marriage, and parenting. She can be reached via email for consulting and coaching.