Other Answers

How do u know how you're feeling?

Hi Theresa!  Thank you for reaching out for some help with that! Identifying your feelings can be a huge step in learning more about how to control them.  As humans, we have six basic emotions; sadness, happiness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust. There are many, many feelings that branch off of those categories. It sounds like you are already able to identify when you are happy and sad, which is a great place to start!  Our feelings are closely related to our thoughts. These are both closely related to our behaviors. Usually happiness is when you are having positive thoughts. Sadness and anger are related to more negative thoughts. Angry negative thoughts usually contain more energy than sad negative thoughts. Sad ones usually cause our behaviors to be more quiet and reserved while anger causes our behaviors to become louder and more aggressive.  Fear, surprise and disgust can be a little more difficult to identify. Usually when someone is afraid, they are thinking that they or someone they care about is going to get hurt in some way. Surprise is a feeling you get when your thoughts are unexpected. Disgust is what happens when you really dislike something someone else or you yourself did, or said. Pay attention to your thoughts and it will be helpful in identifying your emotions.  If you start with identifying those six basic emotions as you feel them, you can eventually grow to identify some more intricate feelings. That is a difficult skill though. Not many people could state the difference between joy and happiness or between irritated and frustrated and that's okay! It is also okay for every one to have their own variations to describe their feelings.  If you have difficulties identifying your own feelings, try identifying the feelings of people in TV shows. You can also identify the feelings of people who you trust, with their knowledge and permission that you are reading their emotions. They might be able to help tell you what their feelings are and what their face looks like in those feelings to help you learn more about emotions in general.  I wish you the best!  -Melissa 
Answered on 02/07/2023

How do I heal after a failed relationship shattered my trust?

Despite the fact that you said that your "trust has been shattered" it is very possible to heal and move on to have successful relationships. If you are interested in reviving your marriage that is one issue. If you are asking how to move forward and begin again that is another.  If your are working on your relationship couples therapy is advised. If it has ended and you are trying to work through what happened individual therapy is advised. In both instances you will learn how to heal and develop the skills to move forward. In both scenarios learning how to trust again is a key issue.  Understanding what happened and why in the context of your marriage is another.  What do you believe was the cause of the infidelity?  If you feel the relationship fell apart long ago for example was it due to communication issues?   Going through this story is a place to start.. Is there something you would do differently that you now realize that could have helped support the relationship?  Did you have a clear contract or understanding of the expectations of your relationship and moving forward what would that look like in a new relationship or a revision of the prior one. In order to move forward you have to understand your part in all of this and what you could do to improve your communication. In order to trust however you will have to be clear with your partner what your concerns and needs are. Is reassurance from your partner to rebuild your trust a part of it?  This is generally "a yes" so how much reassurance is enough or too much to require from a new partner? These are all questions to consider as it is personal to you and your needs. The level of intensity of what you need will also change in time once trust is re-established but it will take some time and you have to be patient, vocal about your needs and optimistic. Having corrective experiences with your old or new partner is also part of the healing  process and how you learn to trust again  so you can feel safe and assured. Be clear on what you expect and what you can tolerate.  Avoid acting out in passive-aggressive ways because you find that you are angry. It is far better to talk these things out. If you are considering reviving your prior relationship what part does forgiveness play in it for you? Be aware that your healing process will take time and your emotions will come in waves of feeling as when you are grieving. At times you may feel you are moving past the pain and then suddenly something triggers you and it can feel more intense but this improves over time  with more positive experiences and open communication. This painful situation can be an opportunity to learn and grow and make necessary changes in your life  where you can be open and transparent with your partner with maximum intimacy.  Infidelity can be an "awful event" but it does not have to define the rest of your life.  Leverage it as a "jump off point" to redefine the importance of relationships in your life and how you want to live moving forward. Be clear if you are starting anew how to select the right partner. Get to know each other and talk about what you have been through so they are aware and can support you and vice versa.  This experience if handled correctly can help you improve communication, set boundaries and experience personal resilience. This process is worth it but you have to be committed as initially it can prove quite painful as you review what you have been through to better understand it, learn from it and allow for closure. Be aware as well of self-pity and self-blame neither of which would be helpful to get stuck in.  As you review what happened it is better to find areas that you can avoid and improve so this experience teaches you something of meaning that you can help you grow as a person. If you are seeking your own healing and not in your prior relationship then it is advised that you engage in your own therapy to first verbalize what happened and your feelings about it-the pain, the anger and the betrayal. When you have been able to do that the next step would be rebuilding and what you would like to experience in a healthier future relationship. This includes what to look for in a partner, how to communicate and how to manage triggers and fears that will arise as you try to form a new and healthier attachment to another. In this process you would benefit from knowing your own areas of vulnerability so you can express that with your partner and teach them how to best interact with you in a way that is comforting and soothing. I commend you for what you are about to embark on and wish you the best!
Answered on 02/06/2023

What are some strategies to help me communicate more effectively in relationships?

Dre, It's an honor to take your question and to provide what I have learned both personally and professionally from working with clients such as yourself with similar struggles and similar questions. Personally and professionally, I am a huge believer in what we call attachment theory. Attachment theory shapes an individual from the "womb to the tomb." Attachment theory is literally what the name suggests--attachment. It begins in utero. Babies can feel love in utero, before birth. Love and attachment shape them as they mature into children, teens, and adults. We are each created with a need for others and to live in community from the moment we are conceived, and that need must be tended to while in utero and beyond. However, because we live in an imperfect world, we are all "wounded," and we are wounded in how we give and receive love. Children need the love of both parents, because both parents offer something totally different in how they shape and love their child and build healthy attachment. That was absent for you--you only had your mother in her home of origin.  Single mothers are often pulled in so many directions, and their batteries often drain fast. Therefore, it is hard for single parents to give their children everything those children need. Even though, "this is what it is," it still creates gaps, woundedness, problems, immaturity, etc. for children in areas of academic and social functioning. Children that grow up in single parent homes also often play comparison games--as seen in your first statement, that you think others are much more effective in their communicating than you. And it can often go beyond that. Many children from single parent homes have some "distorted thinking" believing that anyone else and everyone else had it or has it "better." This is never the case, but it is often what is believed. Also, I think there is a lot to unpack in your statement of how you stay quiet and observe others so that you are not taken advantage of. But I want to be careful here--I don't want to draw assumptions and dive too deep, but do think this is an interesting statement. In reading these areas of confusion, timidity, and lack of self-assurance, these lead me to think that you may struggle with what I call "people pleasing" and may be unsure of who you are and what you believe--that is, what your value system is. To know who you are and who you want to be--even your legacy-- is the foundation on which we build good communication skills, identity, friend groups, and healthy relationships. It also helps to build confidence in your identity as man, as a black man, and a man that may enjoy being more of an introvert--that is to be celebrated! Not all people are to be men, introverted, or of one race. The beauty and diversity of our world should be celebrated! Celebrate the fact that you are a man, a black man, and that you are more observant--that is beautiful.  So how can you succeed in social settings and have improved communication that draws people in rather than push them away? 1. I would encourage you to first do some healing work with accepting your past and accepting who you are in the present. 2. Give some thought to your value system and your future self. Who do you want to be? How do you start and how to finish those goals? What are you daily habits (looking for consistency here and routine) because daily habits accomplish your goals. What do you stand for? How do you want people to see you? What do you want to be known for? What do you believe? What do you want to accomplish with your life? Etc? 3. Create daily habits that honor caring for yourself and engaging with others. 4. Look for friends who are interested in you and desire to know you and also want to be known by you. Look for friends who are healthy--mentally, physically, and financially. Look for friends you can learn from and who can learn from you. You have more to offer than I think you may realize. And if you would like to explore more of this in depth, I would be honored to work with you! But I hope this at least gets you started in critically and reflectively thinking about you and who you want to be.
Answered on 02/03/2023

What are some tools that could help me?

Hi Z, There are some things that you could do to help you. Just know that jealousy is a normal human emotion but it's learning your triggers and what you tend to do when you are jealous that is important. At some point in time in our life we will most likely be jealous here or there, it is when we feel like it is a problem or if it is constant that we have to start trying different things.  One of the most important things to do is to take some time for self-exploration and digging deep into you to try and understand why you are jealous. Learning self-awareness and trying to identify your insecurities and talking them out is important in this case. We all have our own insecurities that we need to work on and that is ok. There is usually some underlying reason behind these kinds of feelings. When we are digging deep and exploring ourselves it can feel uncomfortable but it is necessary. If we do not know the why then we will have a hard time identifying our triggers and if we can not identify our triggers then we do not really know how we can cope with it. So this would be your very first step in this process that you are going through.  When you are in a relationship and you feel jealous feelings it is very important to communicate this with your partner. Have an open conversation with them and they can give you insight and help guide you. If you keep it inside it can build up and cause you to get upset with your partner and them having no clue why. Keeping open communicate would be extremely important.  Also learning different coping skills to help deal with your jealous feelings could overall be helpful. You know you are a jealous person which is good that you are aware of that but trying to find the why, the triggers and then different skills to help you get through the feeling will overall be beneficial for you.  When we let these feelings get in the way it can cause a negative impact on ourselves, our relationships and the people around us so it's good that you are starting today asking these questions. 
Answered on 02/03/2023

How can I overcome burnout and restore my self-respect?

Hi Lara,  Thank you for reaching out to get some guidance on this issue. Burn-out can be a challenging thing to overcome. I am so glad you are actively working to make positive changes in your life so that it is not impacting your overall well-being so much! A job is just that-a job. It does not define you or control you. Your mental health is much more important. I'm proud of you for recognizing that!  One very helpful thing that I like to do as a therapist is to start by helping people to identify their strengths! I can see a lot of those in you in just those few sentences that you sent. You are working to better your life and you recognize that your issues are caused by burnout. You have identified where the burnout has come from. This is all great. You also care about your partner and you are doing your best to maintain a healthy relationship. Your partner is also supportive. What other strengths can you identify about yourself and your life?  Feeling insecure is normal when you are in a toxic environment. It does not mean you are not enough or that you are not accomplishing enough, the issue is within the workplace. Focus on the facts. As humans, our brains like to form thoughts and feelings that are not based on facts. these are called cognitive distortions and they cause a lot of the feelings you are currently experiencing. An example of this is; you feel insecure at work despite doing better than is required. What thoughts are you having that are leading to this feeling? I can't say for sure but my guess is that it is a cognitive distortion! What caused that distortion? It could be any number of things. Maybe the way you were treated in the workplace? Make sure you are setting boundaries at work that are healthy for you. If you are scheduled to work until 4:00 and you are asked to stay until 5:00, unless you truly desire to stay at work late, it's okay to say no. You have to focus on yourself and do what is best for you.  Take some time to do things that you enjoy doing. Do you have any hobbies or interests? Try to spend time doing those things after work or on your days off.  Also, ensure that you are maintaining healthy communication with your partner! Did he say that he has issues with all of this or are those cognitive distortions? Talk with him about them and explore how he feels so that you are aware and you can base your feelings on facts. Maybe there is a solution you can work out together.  I wish you the best!  -Melissa 
Answered on 02/03/2023

Why do I struggle to be my biggest supporter?

When we find ourselves in a position in our lives where we are not being our biggest supporters, second guessing our decisions or choices, and turning more to others than trusting our guts we can often become discouraged. It is very typical and even important to have a connection to others. We have support systems of friends and family that we typically turn to for support, guidance and comfort. This is more than okay. It is part of the human experience to seek out connections to others. The time where this can be alarming is if we find ourselves not trusting or turning to ourselves for support, comfort, or answers. This can occur due to events where we decided for ourselves, things did not work out how we intended, and others then making comments on how they could see that coming and would have advised it differently. It can also occur as a result of trauma or even heartbreak. The underlying reason can be good to know as it may prevent future moments of cheering ourselves on or trusting our gut. Getting to the underlying issue can be done by meeting with a professional therapist. They can ask questions to assist with deeper exploration, gain insight, and tailor specific ways to overcome it. You can also start small things on your own to rebuild your confidence and self-support. Below are a few ideas or things to try. 1-      Start dating yourself. This may sound silly but start with getting to know yourself. What are your likes, dislikes, or favorite things? What are your interests, hobbies, or things you truly enjoy doing? Finding these out may assist you with getting to know yourself better as well as reconnecting to yourself. 2-      Identify positives in yourself. Often times when we doubt ourselves we tend to be looking at the negative within ourselves. It is sometimes easier to see the negative or areas where we feel short than see the positive and strengths. Try throughout your day to identify the positives and strengths. Take the time to write them down so when you are struggling you are able to look back and remember. 3-      Make a pros and cons list. When you need to make a decision first spend some time identifying the pros and cons for yourself. You can then talk about this with your support system and add their thoughts then based on the information from both your supportive system and yourself you can make an informed decision. 4-      Recognize the little supports. Notice in your life the little things you do to support yourself. When are you able to identify your needs and wants. Doing this will allow you to see areas where you are your biggest supporter. It will also add to you getting to know yourself a little better. Starting to regain connection to self begins with awareness which you have due to recognizing this and by reaching out for support. Give these suggestions a try and as mentioned earlier reach out to a professional to assist with the underlying issues that may also be contributing to this for you. 
Answered on 02/03/2023

How can one find happiness?

Thank you for reaching out and for submitting your question. You ask something which a great many people struggle with either throughout or at least at some point in their life. It is a quite common concern. The reality of being human, and the truth of life, is that there will be good times as well as times which knock us down. There are times during which we experience peace and those other periods where it seems absolutely nothing is as we’d prefer it to be. There are good years and there are bad ones, too. And sometimes we don’t just get struck down by one singular struggle at a time, rather it seems a whole bunch come at us all at once. When life events happen which turn everything upside down it is normal to feel happiness fade. We might have losses, breakups, health conditions, housing concerns – any number of stressful, hard things might befall us. The majority of people will experience multiple major losses and challenges over the course of their lives. You will probably find it difficulty to find many people who profess, at the end, that the entirety of their life was one blessing and joy after another. It is a natural thing to face difficulties and to thus endure sadness and grief. But sometimes, the sadness goes on. Sometimes it appears for no particular reason. In such cases, there might be a mood disorder such as depression. It is a fairly common condition. And many people will experience one or more episodes during their life. It can exist entirely on its own, or also be present alongside other diagnoses. And some medications, too, can trigger depressive symptoms. Happiness tends to be a pleasurable emotion which results because of something. A certain experience can make us happy. A particular situation. It is based on circumstances and objects. And feelings tend to ebb and flow. An emotion we feel can change based on external conditions. Emotions and feelings can be fickle and always changing. Alternatively, there is joy. This is something which we can find even during times of difficulty. We can cultivate joy regardless of the externals – in spite of the externals. Getting an A on a paper you wrote might being a moment of happiness. But pursuing a meaningful activity may result in lasting joy. When life becomes especially challenging, it becomes more important than ever to dedicate ourselves to a routine and to purposefully, intentionally pursue joy. None of this will look identically the same for everyone. But there are some strategies which could be helpful and are worth considering. Volunteering is one way to introduce joy into our life. We take the focus of ourselves, we keep our mind from ruminating on our struggles, and turn outward to give. Giving is a remarkably effective way to receive joy yourself. Gratitude is another helpful strategy to employ. There is always at leasy one small thing to be grateful for. Pay more attention to what is good. Be deliberate about seeking those things out. Perhaps your feet are cold and you have warm socks to put on. How good! Maybe the sun is shining after a couple days of gloom and rain. Can you be grateful for that? Be watchful for any small thing to be positive about. Consider keeping a list. Maybe buy a special notebook and write down anything you can find to be grateful for. This can lead in to what might be the opposite – stay away from the negative. If there are people you know who tend to be heavy on gloom and doom, it might be time to limit your interactions with them. The people around us, and those whom we spend a lot of time with, can have great influence over us and our moods. Of course, if they tend to be negative, then it is not so great. Those type of people might contribute to worsening your symptoms of sadness. Be mindful of who you are around. Seek out people who will lift you up more and who tend towards the positive. Make sure you stay active. Regular physical activity is proven to impact our moods and well-being. It does not have to be anything formal or require significant exertion. A casual walk around the block is wonderful way to get some movement in. Plus, some fresh air and sun will further be helpful to you. Think about what brings you pleasure. What things in life do you enjoy? See how you might add more of these to your day.Consider some new hobbies or activities. A new pursuit can bring new energy into your life. Plus, it might be a good way to widen your circle and meet people with common interests. While these “self-help” types of ideas can be helpful, they may not be sufficient. So, if that is the case for you, and it sounds like it will be since you have quite a bit going on, that is okay. But there are people out there who are ready to help you. People who will be at your side to walk with you through this challenging season. It sounds like you are perhaps finding yourself in a place in life where you need and could benefit from some additional guidance and support. Life can indeed get overwhelming sometimes. And we can’t seem to find the way out of the darkness all on our own. You are not alone. Consider finding a therapist to help you work through all the emotions and challenges which you are dealing with. When life become too much, and we can’t figure out how to make things different, a therapist can sit beside you and help you find the path forward. A therapist will help you make sense of what has happened. And will partner with you to figure out a plan for how to make things better.
Answered on 01/31/2023

How do I know if I even need a therapist?

Thank you for reaching out and submitting your question. I am sorry you are experiencing some difficulties and challenges in your life right now. You have pondered something which many people find themselves faced with at some point in their lives (or even at many, many points): do I need therapy? Is seeing a therapist the right thing for me to do?There are a variety of reasons why people attend therapy. For some, there is not any particular reason at all. They simply like having a neutral, objective person to talk to. Or perhaps they want to have meaningful discussions on the regular which help them explore themselves more deeply or which contribute to them getting a deeper understanding of their personal meaning and purpose in life. For others, there might be a situation reason. This could include a death or perhaps a child moving out of the home or a job change/loss or some other major life event. At these times in life we find ourselves struggling and in need of some added support. Theses sorts of things lead many people into the therapy room. There is, too, a variety of mental health diagnoses which become too much to manage. Symptoms begin making it harder to function in daily life and in relationships. This can include every diagnosis which exists from anxiety and depression to bipolar. Here are some things which could be a good indicator that therapy may be helpful to you:Maybe you are avoiding social situations. If you begin to isolate more, and are withdrawing from your friends and family, it could be indicative of some other concerns. We all have those times when we want to be on our own, but there are times when it just becomes more than normal – it is more than just wanting some peace and quiet for a short bit. You just feel like life is too much sometimes. You maybe struggle to get the basics done. Things which were easy to do are now incredibly hard to tackle. You could feel extra challenged when it is time to make decisions. You could be feeling hopeless. It can sometimes hard to look into the future and feel anything positive. You maybe no longer see a light at the end of the tunnel. It has gone dark with signs of ever turning back on. This could be a sign of depression. There has been a change in your eating. Some people find they begin eating more. For others, they go the opposite way and start eating much less. If you are struggling you might notice a change in your eating habits. You are noticing issues with work or school. It could be hard to focus and concentrate. You feel like it is all too much to manage. You might lose interest in what you are doing. There is no longer much enjoyment in the things you found fun before. You can begin to feel disconnected. You lose interest in hobbies. Often, when someone is considering therapy, and wondering if they might benefit, then it is clear there is something amiss and you are not feeling your best. Essentially, if you have to ask, then something is wrong and so the answer would be yes. In fact, we all could benefit from added support. The issues which you mention are ones which bring many people to therapy. The reality is that many people begin therapy simply because things are not going well. They might not even be able to put into words what is happening. They might not understand why it is happening. Every therapist is prepared and accustomed to this. Many people just feel like they are struggling and they enter the therapy room with more questions than answers. This is normal. If you do decide to try therapy, you have the option of ending care whenever you like. There are no requirements to continue if you find it does not feel like the right choice. Also, it is always acceptable to change to a new therapist at any time if you find you aren’t connecting. Often, people need to switch to a new therapist due to moving or they need to find one who specializes in a particular concern. Therapy can help. There is considerable research which validates how effective it can be. If things continue to be a struggle, think about giving therapy a try. The reality is that having extra support is always a positive and pretty nearly everyone could benefit from therapy.
Answered on 01/29/2023

How to decide what's the right choice for me - staying remote or going back to the office?

Hi Melanie, Firstly, thank you so much for taking the time to ask this question; I can really see how much thought and effort you have already put into this.  From what you say you are stuck in between the balance of your career and your mental health and wellbeing. What we know is that there are different domains in life that are important to consider, with these two being at the centre of it too. For reference, the four domains I usually work with are leisure, work and education, health and physical wellbeing and relationships.  It sounds to me that you have noticed the benefits and the drawbacks of working remotely, and potentially are missing some more of the social element that it can bring being in the office. Since being remote you have isolated yourself a little more than before, and whilst this has meant you can easily change your location regularly, there are also some drawbacks that have occurred too.  When big questions about life choices come, similar to what you have here, I tend to think about what will take me to my longer term goals. I also hold this in mind for things like relationships and connectedness (for example are there other ways to get this other than work; you have also suggested teaching yoga for example). It's bringing the balance that is important to us in the domains that are important too. If we are wanting more connectedness then yes - going to the office is great, however we can also gain this elsewhere if we did wish to continue working remotely.  It will be a transition to continue with, or away from remote working. We know that adjustments to life opening up following COVID restrictions was challenging for a lot of people and came with anxiety, much like you speak to here. I think it is important to be compassionate towards ourselves during these times, whilst also thinking about what are we avoiding and is that helpful again for the longer term for the life we want to live?  One of the main parts of what you say here that strikes me is the one of the final lines. 'Is it the moment to surrender and return to the big city lifestyles that does not make me happy?'. If there is a way to gain happiness in other areas of our lives whilst continuing to hold a role that is meaningful and enjoyable this sounds like the best balance! I do hear however that there is also a query around finances and money which needs to be considered too.  I would honestly say do what will make you the most happy in the long term; and if you are feeling isolated and want to increase your support network then you are able to do this outside of work too. It does not all need to come from one place in our lives! I do hope that is helpful, if you are finding it hard to think through further please also know that therapy can be helpful even in the short term, to help us work through decisions like the above.  Best wishes, Nikki
Answered on 01/29/2023

Can you help me to depend on myself?

Thank you reaching out and for submitting your question. I am so sorry that you are going through some difficulties and challenges right now. You say that you are feeling like the person you are closest to in life is meeting your needs at this time. That is truly a hard place to find yourself in. There are several things to consider and keep in mind. In some cases, when we feel like a person is not meeting our needs it could simply be that life has gotten in the way. In the beginning of romantic relationships, in particular, we tend to go out of our way to shower the other person with attention and time. But that honeymoon phase does not last forever. For one, life truly won’t allow for it. Sometimes life gets super busy, but even the normal day-to-day can make a lot of demands. It can be possible, with good communication, to express what you are experiencing with your partner. It might seem as if you are being too needy, but oftentimes other people just are not aware that you have an unmet need. It does not need to be an awkward conversation. It can look like picking a quiet time when you both are relaxed. Let the other person know how much you value them and appreciate your company. Let them know you are hoping that you prioritize one another a bit more and suggest carving out more time together. If you are with someone who just happens to have less need for attention, they could simply be assuming you are the same way and thus they could just be entirely oblivious to your desires. Of course, it helps to be sure you are being rational. Take a step back and assess. Is what you are wanting and asking for reasonable. Have a willingness to compromise with the other person. You are two different people with two different sets of needs. How can each maybe shift just a bit to meet a little closer in the middle? The other angle here to consider, and which you mention, is being more okay with being on your own. For one thing, you are a valuable person with worth all on your own. Time spent with others is wonderful. But time alone is important. And it is a great opportunity to do things that inspire you. It is a beautiful chance to get to know yourself on a much deeper level. Getting to know who you are is a worthwhile task. Too many people spend too much time so focused on the external world that they wake up suddenly at the end of it all and realize that they never really got to know themselves. Journalling can be a helpful tool in this process. There are lots of journalling prompts, both online and through books. You can sit and write. But that is not a requirement – you can also just sit and think about things. What are your opinions? You values? Your memories and beliefs and dreams? Time alone is also a time to create and explore. Is there a hobby you want to delve into more? Perhaps you have an activity or passion that you might want to revisit. Or consider whether you might give some thought to a new hobby to check into. When we are alone, we can lose ourselves in whatever we want. Nobody is there to stop you or interrupt. Take advantage of that gift to make and create and give your attention to a new (or old) thing. Create art. Put together puzzles. Plant a garden. Knit a sweater or some socks. Build a piece of furniture. Make candles. Learn to cook. Start a scrapbook. Take a class and learn something interesting and fascinating that you always wanted to learn more about. All of this stuff can truly be done all on your own. Or, too, it could be the chance to take a class or join a club which means meeting some new people. But you don’t have to just sit home and find a hobby. You can get out and about too. Go to a movie, for example. Go enjoy lunch on your own. It might feel weird at first. But you will quickly realize nobody cares. People are paying far more attention to themselves. If there is some discomfort at first, that is okay. Laugh about it. After all, how silly is it to feel we can’t go places alone? One you start going places alone, you might wonder why you never did it sooner. Try volunteering. There is no better way to get out of your own head and set aside your emotions as when you turn all your attention outwards and serve others. There is so much need in the world. People need you. You will likely find you forget about yourself in the process. And it is highly probable that volunteering will, in fact, provide you with a huge mood boost. Giving to others is actually one of the best gifts we ourselves can ever get. Be wary of technology. It is a powerful and wonderful thing. But social media in particular can open up the trap of comparison. Remember that it usually merely “looks” like someone else is constantly having the time of their lives. You are only seeing curated snippets. Of course, that said, technology can, if leveraged carefully and deliberately, open up the world. It can be a way to build connections with others. It can be a way to engage in meaningful conversations.If you continue to struggle with your emotions, consider reaching out to a therapist. A therapist can help you explore what you are experiencing and can help you come up with some just-for-you strategies to help you make some positive changes.
Answered on 01/29/2023

how to deal with the fact that I am getting older and becoming chronically aware of that

Thanks for writing in with this timely and important question. Aging in society is such a contradictory topic. On one hand we are presented with images and messages about aging gracefully and our "golden years" and on the other hand we are constantly bombarded with anti-aging products, younger people on tv, and time does seem to be flying. It is hard not to be aware of aging in this kind of climate. Accepting aging is easier said than done and in fact it is okay to be upset about it.  You mention the past few years passing quickly and not being happy about it. Of course, we can't change the passage of time, but working with a therapist and figuring out what about your life you might not be so happy with is something that is worth exploring. What is your fear about being that 70 year old? I mentioned sitting with those feelings of sadness, anger, and grief about aging. A trained therapist can also help you navigate these and work on coping skills for when those come.  Aging for some can mean grandchildren, finally retiring, or getting to focus on your hobbies more. For other people it conjures images of loss of independence and more. So what can we do to combat those things? You mentioned that 70 year old in the gym. Well go them! Staying physically active and engaging in the community is a huge protective factor. We don't hit a certain age where we stop feeling youthful or being able to enjoy life, but our bodies can limit some of that if we don't take care of it as best we can. The same is true for our minds. Changing up your routine, learning something new, or travel. It's time to explore your passions. It also helps to stay social now whether through community, friends, clubs, or family helps shield us against isolation which puts older adults at risk for depression.  Seventy, eighty and above don't have to be taboo words spelling misery if you don't want them to be. I'm not saying you're going to look forward to aging, but I think by being proactive and working with a therapist on some of these feelings and thoughts it doesn't have to be dreaded. 
Answered on 01/27/2023

How can I get out of the rut that I’m stuck in and stop relying on other people for happiness?

Hello AD! Thank you for reaching out to BetterHelp with your question regarding creating happiness and feeling judged by others due to societal pressures. There are so many external things that society teaches us to chase and even gives us a timeline of when we "should" have these things. It can be exhausting and let's be real, unattainable sometimes! These things may include success, wealth, power, marriage/family, good looks, etc. But we have to as ourselves, are they really the keys to happiness? The answers I give you today are going to be based on actual research, so I will dive right into it. Research finds that things like a big award, a raise at work, an exciting new relationship, a big circle of friends, or a fancy new car (you get the point), can make us feel great at first, but honestly, the happiness does not last very long. Humans are quick to adapt to new circumstances, which means that the positive things that initially make us happy soon become "our new normal" and we return to how we were feeling before these things. Does this make sense? I'm going to give you a few tips on how to cultivate your own happiness, and I hope you find them to be helpful! Mental health and creating happiness for ourselves have to be "intentional," meaning that we have to put the work in. It does not happen automatically in most cases. 1. Train your brain to be more positive. Our brains are typically wired to notice the negative, so we have to be proactive to undo what comes naturally. Expressing gratitude can be a simple start! Teaching yourself to be more grateful can make a huge difference in your overall happiness. In fact, there are research studies that show that practicing gratitude consistently helps you experience more positive emotions, decreases depression symptoms, improves self-esteem, and can improve your relationships. Keeping a gratitude journal where you write down 3 things you are thankful for each day is a great place to start! 2. Make self-care a priority! Yes, relationships are a big source of happiness in our lives, and we should nurture and enjoy these relationships; however, taking the time to prioritize self-care is equally as important. Mindfulness meditation is a powerful technique for learning to be present and process thoughts in an effective way. Try journaling, moving your body through exercise, eating nutritious meals, getting adequate and quality sleep, and reading a good book. I am also going to encourage seeking out a professional for counseling. Having someone to help guide you on your journey of cultivating happiness for yourself can be beneficial. Starting today, I'm going to encourage you to make a commitment to yourself to find happiness in each day!
(M.A., LPC)
Answered on 01/26/2023

How do I learn to forget the past?

First of all, let me say thank you for writing this question, I know it's not always easy to speak up and express our emotions, feelings, thoughts and concerns with others, so I truly appreciate the effort you are doing by talking about it all and sending this question. Besides, I think it's a very interesting and meaningful topic as we all have lived through situations in the past that we have been carrying for more time than we would like to. Sometimes these situations happen due to our own responsibility, some other times due to another person's responsibility ... In any case, we need to find the path to be able to move forward and live our lives without feeling hurt or affected. I am truly sorry that you are still suffering more from something that happen some time ago and I understand that you can feel in pain due to all that yet, but I am going to send you here some ideas that can be helpful to deal with the past in terms of closing that door and focusing more in the present and the future: 1. The main thing to do is assess the situation and see if there's something else I can do about it. Can I change the situation? Should I say something to someone about it? Do I need to "pay a debt" to someone or something? Can I learn a lesson about it? If I feel I still should do something about it, I recommend doing it when it's possible and, obviously, if I really think it's going to be beneficial and not potentially problematic. Otherwise, I can only accept what it's like, even when it's a very hard experience. 2. In terms of acceptance, I recommend approaches based on Self-appreciation (Positive Psychology, gratitude exercises) and Acceptance (Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Forgiveness Therapy). 3. Explore and clarify your values and set your goals for the future aligned with them. Try to aim for the short-term goals that allow you to achieve the long-term ones and focus on the process (being present in the day-to-day stuff). I honestly hope you can go over this situation. Having a plan and believing in yourself are capital things to achieve it. Wish you all the best. 
(Master's, Degree, in, Third, Generation, Psychological, Therapies, Bsc, in, Psychology, Msc, in, Prevention, of, Addictions)
Answered on 01/26/2023

How can i begin to feel unstuck in my own life? how can i change things?

Thank you for submitting your question. I am sorry that you are facing some challenges in your life right now. It is actually rather normal to feel tired of life. We can all feel exhausted and low at certain points in life. It can seem like we are the only ones experiencing this. But you aren’t alone. Many people go through this. And many people come out on the other side. You can, too. There is hope for change. It’s certainly a heavy weight to bear when you are not excited by your life. Or when you find you just don’t feel happy or sad – you feel more numb and even emotionless. There is not much to look forward to. There is nothing you feel passionate about. You feel like you once had dreams and expectations. But none of that is alive within you anymore. You are emotionally, physically, and spiritually done. You’re running in circles, going nowhere fast. You are in a bad spot right now. You feel stuck. But life is dynamic. Ever changing. You got to this spot. And you weren’t always feeling trapped. So based on that it stands to reason that it most certainly is possible to overcome all this and get in a new space. We are always evolving. Just as life shifted and you landed here, you can move again. Believe that. It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t have to embark on a mission to find your life’s purpose and meaning. It’s wonderful if you can find those things. But don’t start out feeling like that’s what you need to achieve. We can almost drive ourselves a bit mad if we’re seeking out the “perfect” path and solution. Don’t let the quest for the ideal answer keep you from appreciating the “good” and “good enough” steps which are a part of all our lives. Life is ups and downs. Life is sometimes good, and sometimes we are in the lessons and struggles. On the journey, it can help to be sure you spend some time reflecting on what’s missing. We all have the obvious basic needs which must be addressed – food, clothing, oxygen, shelter, etc. Yet, beyond that there are some other essentials which, if left neglected, tend to lead us into a state of unhappiness and emptiness. So, consider if these needs are being met for you. Think about the following. Think about if you are meeting each need – and how. If you aren’t meeting the need, then reflect on what might be getting in the way and what you could do differently to make sure if gets met. The need to give and receive attention. We are all of us social creatures and need regular time to connect with other people. It can look like taking a class or joining a club. Even the most introverted amongst us still has a need for quality contact. The need to care for the body and mind. Neglecting proper nutrition, sleep, rest, and exercise long-term leads to psychological problems and stress-induced illness.The need for community and for making a meaningful contribution to the world around us. Taking the focus off of self contributes to making us happier. It gives us meaning and purpose to serve others. The need for goals. We benefit when we have things we are working towards. It can help to consider categories and what you maybe want to be working towards in each – relationships, financial, career, etc. The need for creativity. What can you learn? What skill can you improve? How can you explore and stretch yourself a bit – just for fun? The need for intimacy. It’s common for this need to go unmet. That’s normal. But it’s still an important need. We benefit from having a small circle of family and friends that we can closely connect with. If this is an area of opportunity, consider that being in therapy means having another person hold space for you. Therapy sessions are a chance to practice being in deep relationship with another human being. Therapy can be a great launching point as you begin becoming less isolated. Beyond this, you’ll need to reach out to resources to connect. A support group and/or online support site could be a good start. The need for status. This means different things to each person. It could mean being a good parent. It could mean being a dedicated volunteer at your church. We all have something to contribute. You have value to add. One way to meet this need is to volunteer and give to others in some way.The need for control. We all need to have some control over some things in life. It can be as simple as recognizing that you have control over whether you are going to go for a walk in the park or that you get to control what books you are going to read. The need for safety. Do you feel safe in your environment? Are the people you know safe? If not, what needs to change? This is all a starting point. Are these basic essential needs being met in your life? If you continue to feel stuck, a therapist can be of help. They can work with you to come up with a change to make some positive changes and then can help you achieve those goals.
Answered on 01/20/2023

It’s okay to feel overly emotional all the time?

Thank you for your question.  It is brave of you to write how you are feeling, it sounds like you are also self-aware and already know the unhelpful thinking patterns you are in.  When we overthink it does tend to spiral out of control unless we are able to stop, rationalize, reframe and then act upon it.  It sounds like this is what you are doing and then as a result feeling lots of different emotions, perhaps anxiety, frustration, annoyance, etc. It is possible to change this way of thinking.  Working with a counselor you will be able to explore what the thoughts are that you are overthinking and why you are doing it.  You may even be able to work out why you do it, where has this behavior come from.  This too will help with understanding to help support you in making a change.  You would be guided through recognizing these thoughts at the moment they begin and then have strategies, or interventions to prevent them from spiraling.  With practice, practice and practice you will be able to stop them from happening at all.   The emotions that you are feeling are probably acting in this way to keep you safe.  Almost like a smoke alarm that keeps going off.  It is important to lower the sensitivity of that smoke alarm because it is going off when it does not need to.  Being aware of the thoughts and managing them in a way so they do not set off that alarm will help calm it so then it does not happen so often. So in a nutshell, what is happening for you is normal, although unhelpful.  It is possible to make changes and stop it or reduce it from happening.  Discovering what those thoughts and feelings actually are, what they are communicating in the emotions and being able to recognize when it is beginning to happen is a way of making a change. This does not necessarily mean you will never overthink again in the future, but in the future you will have some go to strategies to stop the overthinking.
Answered on 01/20/2023

How can I get out of my own way?

Hi, Thanks for reaching out. Being a mom is the hardest job we will ever have, but it is the most rewarding too. With young kids, it is challenging to focus on ourselves.  As moms, we take care of everyone else and we tend to give ourselves whatever is left at the end of the day...which is usually not much if anything. You know when we fly and they say "in the event we lose cabin pressure, put your mask on first then take care of those traveling with you"?  That's because if you put your kids masks on first, you may be in the aisle passed out, and then what good would you be then?  Self-care is essential, and you need to make sure you have enough in your tank to keep going to be able to keep giving to everyone else and be the best you can be. So make sure you make time (guilt free) to do something just for yourself regularly.  This can be anything from taking a bath, getting your nails done, sitting outside drinking your favorite drink, taking a walk or watching your favorite show.   Something that is just for you.  Remember...no guilt.  Feeling overwhelmed can oftentimes give us that freeze feeling, which can be our way of shutting down when we have too much going on and can't focus on the task at hand.  Do you think this is the case? Consider writing a to-do list and focus on just the top 3 things each day.  If you get more done, then great.  If not, that's ok, at least you got the 3 most important things done. We often think it all needs to get done, but not everything needs to get done in the time frame we would like them to be done.  Then, before bed, instead of thinking about what needs to still get done that didn't, consider creating a list of what you did do.  A list to focus on your successes.  I bet there's more on that list than you realize.   And yes, work on being kinder to yourself.  Our inner dialogue often isn't the nicest and we are often our harshest critic.  If you are telling yourself something, ask yourself...Would I say this out loud to anyone else?  If the answer is NO, then take a mental note to stop telling yourself that.  Kindness starts with us, so pay attention to your inner dialogue. No one is perfect and all we can do is do our best, and the days we don't, well, tomorrow is another day. 
Answered on 01/20/2023

How can I learn to articulate my words in general and to articulate how I feel?

Thank you for submitting your question. And I am sorry that you are experiencing these difficulties right now. Sometimes when we are repeatedly finding that we just do not know what to say during a conversation we are dealing with an issue known as social anxiety. You seem to get stuck in your head. Your head truly feels entirely empty. You’ve got nothing. The conversation might stop. And then you are overwhelmed by the awkward, uncomfortable silence  - which makes things feel even worse. Stress and anxiety can cause us to have those “I don’t know what to say!” moments. What can lead to this is a fear of being judged by others. We get worried about how we will be perceived both by those we know well as well as by strangers. Often, it’s negative thoughts which tend to get in our way during these moments. We spend too much time dwelling on potentially negative outcomes – ones which, when we really dig in deep, aren’t likely to occur or, if they do, won’t be as bad as our imagination may lead us to believe. It can help to keep reminding yourself that even if you blunder, everybody does. Actually, most people will likely remember a number of times wherein they said or did something which made them feel silly or foolish or less than in some way. And as such, most people tend to be compassionate and understanding. You might not know it, but a lot of people get nervous talking to others – they just aren’t walking around telling everyone about it. So, you are not alone! We also sometimes tend to think others notice our mistakes more than they do. The pause in conversation which you feel is lasting forever could be barely noticeable to your companion. Most people aren’t noticing things to the degree you might think. And if they do? They usually forget rather quickly. As for not knowing what to say, there are some strategies and ideas which could be helpful: Ask lots of questions. Getting other people to do most of the talking can be helpful. It takes a lot of the burden off of you. People usually like to talk about themselves. And when we show an interest in them, it tends to boost their mood and makes them think of us in a favorable light. It can help to think up different questions you might ask. In particular, you’ll want to ask questions that will get more than a simple “yes” or “no” response. This can often be solved by wording your question well. And if you do get a brief reply, you can ask a follow up question or say something like “tell me more about that.” Another helpful strategy is to put all your focus on the other person. You might get concerned with how you are coming across or what you will say next. Pay close attention to what they are saying and see what kind of questions you can come up with based on what they are telling you. Let’s say they told you they traveled to Boston last week. What was it like – what did they think about the city? How long did they visit for? Did they go anywhere or do anything that they’d recommend or suggest you avoid? It can help to accept silence and to begin to view it as okay – even good. It doesn’t have to be seen as something that has to be fixed. The reality is that most conversations contain long pauses. And that’s okay. It gives you a moment to catch your breath. It can also be helpful to challenge the inner critical voice. Our internal voice leads us to think we are a failure or incompetent or just not good at talking. We think so many things over the course of a day. And most of it is not true. It can help to put a thought on trial. What is the thought? Is it true? What’s your evidence for and against it? Could something else be true? As for talking in front of groups, this is a universal fear for many people. Again, you are not alone! There are classes and groups you can join to work on this skill. Consider checking around to see if you can locate one near you. There are public speaking courses or public speaking meetups you can try out. To get more comfortable and better at speaking in front of others, practice will be key. You may likely always be nervous to some degree (that is normal!), but the more you practice the better you’ll become at speaking. If you are giving a formal talk, then go over what you’ll say when you are at home. Do it as many times as needed. Memorize it if need be. Learn from expert speakers. There are lots of resources out there from experts who will give you tips and tricks. They will help you learn to speak well and even go over information pertaining to body language. If you want to do something well, become a student of it. Nobody is ever born knowing how to do something well! So, start studying. Public speaking is a skill and an art. It’s something you can improve on over time. The more you do it, the better you will become at it. As for knowing how to articulate what you feel, this is another area where you will benefit from practice. Spending some time increasing self-awareness might be helpful. Journalling can be a good starting point. Take time to sit and let your thoughts and feelings pour out onto the pages. Or try recording yourself talking aloud if that’s easier. Practice expressing yourself by yourself – and eventually move on to speaking with others. If it continues to be a struggle, consider working with a therapist. A therapist can help you identify and work on any individual issues which might be holding you back. And talking with a therapist, opening up to someone trained to listen and communicate with you, can in itself be helpful as it’s a judgement free space in which to practice opening up.
Answered on 01/19/2023

How do I find purpose and meaning in my life after being a caretaker for 18 years?

Thank you for reaching out. Finding meaning and purpose is important in every season of life in which we find ourselves. You acknowledge that you ended one season and your role as a caregiver came to a close. Whenever we leave one way of living behind and we embark on a brand new season of our life it is normal and expected to feel a bit untethered and to feel somewhat lost. It’s normal to be left wondering – “what now, what’s next?”Being a caregiver typically means we’ve lived with quite a bit of purpose and we are very accustomed to be needed. When that comes to a close, the transition to a new stage can be ever more challenging and also, too, a degree of grief comes along with it. As a caregiver, we find ourselves losing both a dear loved one as well as losing a job. We find that we have two voids left, two losses. For anyone who has been a caregiver for a number of years, especially long-term (ten years or more) the entirety of your life becomes that. Your entire identity and all your purpose gets wrapped up into it. It truly can leave you lost when it comes to close. And as you seem to have discovered, when you seek to find yourself, you just aren’t the same person anymore. So, you are faced with having to contend with completely redefining yourself, with finding yourself. It really is akin to having  to push forth through a depression. But there is hope. One thing to keep in mind is that it is noble and loving to have cared for your mother. You did what you could to be there for her and that is a wonderful, remarkable thing. Also, being a caretaker is a demanding job and you have picked up quite a number of valuable skills throughout. It likely forced you to build strength and fortitude. It probably demanded you develop perseverance and patience. And caregiving typically forces you to become very adept at organization and planning. These are all tremendously valuable things in both our personal lives as well as in any workplace setting. To begin, be patient and be compassionate towards yourself. Figuring out a life purpose and seeking meaning is a journey. Initially, try to accept where you are at right now. Begin where you are. No matter what reality you awakened to this morning, it is what your life is right now. It sounds like perhaps it wasn’t what you would prefer and isn’t what you maybe had planned for. But it’s okay. Because where you are isn’t going to be where you end up – once we accept where we are we can begin planning. And that’s the start of us living life more deliberately and intentionally. What might be helpful is to take a full accounting of your life as it is today. Think about some major categories: relationships, career, health, finances, and personal pursuits. Within each of these groupings do an honest assessment. What does that category currently look like? What’s working well versus what isn’t? Would you like it to be different? Also, think about what you enjoy. Is there anything you do that makes you forget to eat – or you look up and hours have gone by? Did you have a childhood dream you’ve forgotten all about? How do want to be remembered when all is said and done? From there, you can begin to think about some goals. So, if, for example, we waved a magic wand over your life and you woke up tomorrow morning with all sorts of positive changes having taken place, what would the day look like? Once you begin to get a picture of what you want and need, then you can begin forming a road map of how you might get there. I recall one woman who lost her parent after caring for him for a number of years. She cherished the memories and also took note that there are many people who don’t have someone there for them. With that, she began volunteering. She took the knowledge and skills she’d established and began visiting with some ladies who resided in a local residential facility. Giving is one way to increase the meaning and purpose in our own lives, while adding significantly to the lives of others around us. Here's one truth to remember: most of us don’t know what to do with our life. And many of us struggle throughout our life to come to some sense of what our purpose and meaning is. Even decades into life, lots of people are still questioning and unsure. Often, a good question to ask, when we’re unsure of what our meaning and purpose ought to be is this: how can I spend my time so that I am doing more things that are important? Because doing important things makes us feel happier. Not everything we do is going to be important. Some stuff is necessary. Some time will be spent just basically killing time. That’s all part of being human. As for moving, perhaps think about making a pros vs cons list. What are some good reasons to move? Where would you go and what value would that bring to your life? How about staying where you’re at – what’s good and/or bad about it? Think about making some lists to help you gain more clarity. If you’re not motivated to move, then it’s worth thinking more about that. Is it because you actually don’t want to? Sometimes we feel we “should” do something, but it really isn’t what we want – it could be what we think others expect and we want their approval. Is it because you’re fearful? Is it because you have an attachment to where you’re at and leaving feels like leaving important aspects of life behind permanently and it’s feeling hard to let go? All or none of this might be true. If you’re feeling stuck, a therapist can work with you to help you get unstuck. A therapist is there to help you start asking questions and exploring – things like what you value, what you want and need, and what your options are.
Answered on 01/16/2023

Why can't I ever "relax"?? I can be doing nothing and my head can have a million thoughts at once

Often people find it difficult to  relax and switch off their mind. Overthinking is very common. It does not   mean there's anything wrong with you. It may mean you have not found an outlet to help you unwind and that you may have lots of things racing in your mind that you are not able to process, perhaps from the past or currently. It is always good to explain how you're feeling with somebody close to you and who you can trust. As this can often help you feel lighter and able to communicate some of the things on your mind that maybe troubling you. It can also help you organize your thoughts and put things in  perspective so you do not feel so overwhelmed. If you don't feel like explaining how you're feeling with others, journalling can be another extremely helpful option. By writing down your thoughts and feelings on a piece of paper or even  typing a message journals on your phone, there are some journal  apps that you can download as well that some people find helpful-it can offer some clarity and be helpful in helping  you concentrate on the things that are important to you and help you to identify any patterns or triggers to your overthinking. Practicing, mindfulness when you are feeling overwhelmed, in the form of meditation can help you discover your more  positive thoughts and perhaps help you focus more on emotions that make you feel happier. For example, a positive memory or perhaps when you were able to overcome personal challenges from the past. Gentle exercise, such as yoga or even going for a walk can also be great ways of clearing your mind in the present moment Often it's good to try to listen to some soothing music before bedtime and aim to establish a good sleep routine.  This can help you feel more rested if you are having difficulties with your sleep patterns. It's also really good to think about advice you may offer to a friend  and show yourself the same compassion and understanding towards yourself by not judging yourself harshly for overthinking. As often overthinking can be channeled into something that you will find more helpful and  productive. For example  hobbies or any  interests you may have had previously that you can revisit or discover new ones that can help you feel more confident and able to reach any goals that you may have set for yourself.
Answered on 01/16/2023

Where do I start?

Thank you for reaching out. Therapy, or counseling, is intended to assist you as you work through past experiences which are causing you troubled emotions or distressing thoughts. If you’re struggling in some way in your life, with work or relationships, for example, a therapist will be able to assist you. Certain individuals attend therapy briefly to help them address a very specific situation, perhaps the loss of a pet. Others might enter therapy for assistance overcoming an addiction. While someone else might not be experiencing any particular issues, but rather they find longer-term deep therapeutic work helps them formulate the meaning and purpose of their existence.In some cases, there is a diagnosed condition people need help managing. There is no concern too small, no issue too large – people enter therapy for all kinds of things. So, there are all sorts of reasons for beginning therapy. And all of them valid. If you feel a need to talk with someone about anything you’re experiencing in your life, you’re a great candidate for therapy. If you’re finding that there are some difficulties getting in the way of you living the life you want, then that’s also a good opportunity to seek out a therapist. A therapist will be able to offer non-judgmental and neutral feedback. They can work with you to investigate some of the root causes for troubling, disruptive emotions, behaviors and/or thoughts. In therapy, you will be able to learn and practice a variety of skills and strategies. You will come to a deeper understanding of any harmful patterns you might have, and you will be able to learn some potentially valuable coping skills. In the beginning stages of therapy, the therapist will usually ask you lots of questions. The better they get to know you, and the better they understand what you’re facing, then the better equipped they are to help you plan goals and come up with some ways of addressing things. It’s important at all times to keep in mind that therapy is a process. It would be wonderful if we could simply hand you a list of to-do items that would magically solve everything. But it usually takes more time and effort. Things can change, but they won’t change overnight. And sometimes, starting therapy can make you feel worse. But don’t get concerned that something is wrong, or that your therapist is a poor fit! In reality, when you’re in therapy you start talking about past difficulties and traumatic experiences – stuff you have maybe never openly talked about before with anyone. And it can be hard and upsetting. Which is why you usually find a box of tissues in the therapy room. It’s okay and normal to cry. Many therapy clients do (many find themselves laughing, as well – it’s all part of the process). Of course, all that said, a therapist is not there to make you talk about anything you don’t want to. If you don’t want to discuss a certain topic, or answer a particular question, a good, qualified therapist will accept and fully respect your boundary.There won’t be much you need to do to get ready for your first session. The therapist will guide you. You will usually have some paperwork to complete first which usually includes a short questionnaire about why you’re seeking help (you’ll just give a brief overview and no specific details are necessary). If you do want prepare a little, try to think of a short elevator pitch of what has brought you to therapy. What reasons are prompting you? Also, if you have any goals in mind, it can be helpful to consider what they are. It's normal to be nervous at first. But remember that the therapist is not there to judge you. And therapists enter the profession with a strong motivation to support and help you. Try your best to be open and honest. You don’t have to explain every detail of your life right away – your therapist will understand they are still a stranger to you. It’s just human nature for trust building to be a slow process and it takes time to feel comfortable opening up. Be as vulnerable as you feel okay with. Finally, don’t expect the therapist to have all the answers. It might seem like some therapists have the magical solutions to all things. But all therapists are simply human. In fact, it’s better if your therapist does what they’re trained to do – which is to be the guide who is there to help you learn to make better choices on your own and learn to better manage your life moving forward. They will help you learn to become a better decision maker. And they will assist you in becoming more self-aware. This platform is a great way to see a therapist. There are a variety of providers (because not every therapist is a good fit for every client). And there are multiple ways to interact with your selected therapist including messaging and video chats. Many people find therapy is a positive experience and that it helps them far more than they initially anticipated. Should you move forward, I hope you someday can say the same and that you are able to successfully address your individual concerns.
Answered on 01/15/2023