Looking inwards and strengthening yourself with a therapist is always a good idea. Here is our writer's journey.
Searching for a therapist is like dating. You first need to put yourself out there and keep your options open. Then once you have a better idea of what you’re looking for, you may find the one.
After several ‘dates’, I was able to find the right specialist and now would like to share my biggest takeaways on this journey.
Psychology has been on my radar for a very long time. As long as I remember, I have been interested in finding patterns in human behaviour, seeing the cause-and-effect relationships, and learning more about psychological types.
As I consider myself to be an introvert, I thought that my above-the-average introspection skills were enough to find solutions to some of my concerns. They weren’t, so I resorted to watching a ton of YouTube videos.
The Era of YouTube Therapists/Vloggers
As YouTube has long become a go-to search engine to find answers to anything, I simply started putting my questions into the search bar. And soon enough I had a whole playlist of my favourite vloggers to follow.
If topics such as self-development, productivity, and simple life resonate with you, here’s a quick list of YouTubers who (in my opinion) speak wisdom about things that matter in life:
- Amy Landino (productivity, morning routine, time management)
- Chelsea from The Financial Diet (financial habits, frugality, healthy financial decisions)
- Kati Morton (childhood trauma, dealing with toxic people, all things therapy)
- Lavendaire (daily habits, end of the month goal setting, meditations)
- Muchelleb (planning, goal setting, productivity systems)
These YouTubers were a great starting point for me to form my own opinion on certain matters such as financial decisions, dealing with toxic people in an ecological way, saying no, etc.
However, I quickly realised that not all of the advice/solutions/hacks could be applied specifically to my circumstances. And that’s when I realised that I could do with some tailor-made help.
How I Realised I Needed A Therapist
There were several factors that made me realise I could do with a bit of outside help. For the most part, I felt ready to find a therapist when I realised that I repeatedly couldn’t fix a problem despite all the videos I’d watched and the articles I’d read.
For me, these recurring problems felt like running in circles.
For example, I find myself to be a very organised and structured person. I pride myself on it and I’d say it’s the strength I rely on in my everyday life.
However, the flip side of it was me being controlling. In college, I could be blunt and tell people how to do things when working in groups. In my head, it was a sign of care and leadership since I thought I was doing everyone a favour.
Back then I knew that I got my obsession with control from my mum since she is also a very structured person. Me realising my destructive behaviour was half the battle. The other half, switching to a more mature behaviour, seemed like the mission impossible. So I started looking for a therapist!
What I Was Looking For In A Therapist
Although I didn’t have that many expectations, I had a few important things that could be potential deal-breakers if missing in a therapist.
Here they are:
Chill personality: I really wanted my therapist to be thoughtful and tactful since I believe these qualities show professionalism. I wanted to feel good and look forward to our sessions.
Pattern recognition: I needed my therapist to help me identify the faulty patterns I had. And most importantly, I needed them to help me break the viscous cycle of making the same mistakes.
Online consultations: I wanted to talk to a specialist from the comport of my home as I got used to doing pretty much everything from home during the pandemic.
Now that I more or less knew what I needed, I set out to find the perfect match. I decided to start looking for a therapist on YouTube, online, and through friends and family.
Four Therapists and Only One Winner
I knew that I would have to shop around before I could find the therapist I felt the most comfortable talking to. Overall, I had four consultations before I decided to opt for the last therapist.
Here are the things I did or didn’t like about each of the four consultations:
1) The therapist found on the internet
Yay: She helped me verbalise my concerns into wants, i.e. “I want more attention from my partner”, “I want to be more assertive”
Nay: No actionable advice.
2) The YouTube therapist whose work I quite like No.1
Yay: She helped me undertand that I need to be self-sufficient in personal relations and not depend on other people too much.
Nay: Her recommendations were rather extreme and controversial. Here’s an example: “If your partner hasn’t proposed, you’re technically free to date others”
3) Life-coach suggested by a friend
Yay: She helped me become more assured regarding my decision of changing majors at university.
Nay: I didn’t receive actionable advice on learning how to understand my true wants and needs.
4) YouTube therapist whose work I quite like No.2 (my actual therapist now)
Yay: She helped me find the reasoning behind a destructive pattern I wanted to work on
Nay: None. Overall, I’m quite pleased.
What To Discuss With Your Therapist
I’d say that there’s a combination of character traits and the way my therapist communicates with me that makes our consultations very enjoyable. She and I have laid out several ground rules that help us keep expectations in check and respect each other’s boundaries. Here are some of the things to discuss upfront:
Payment method. Do you pay upfront or after the session? Does your therapist have a sliding scale for their fees?
Cancellation policy. What happens if you need to cancel or reschedule?
Written communication. Can you message your therapist in between the sessions? If they, are they included in the fee?
Frequency of the sessions. Do you need to have consistent therapy sessions or is your therapist OK with you booking appointments as necessary?
Therapy is a huge help if you’re ready to work on yourself. Remember that finding the right therapist might take time and that it’s OK to say no to further work. It’s important to trust your instinct and think critically about the advice you might receive, especially if it goes against your inner compass.
You’re the boss. At the end of the day, therapy is about you finding inner peace and improving the quality of your life.
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