How to find the right therapist to fight your depression




I remember the first therapist I worked with very well. She was an older woman with a petit frame. Back than I was 15 years old, I was feeling sad, depressed and had a lot of trouble to give words to my feelings.
It didn't click with her at all. There were awkward silences all the time and I didn't felt comfortable being there. It's so important to have a connection with the person who can help you fight your depression. I now realize that I wasted precious time and energy working with a psychologist or psychotherapist where I didn't feel safe and heard.


Feel safe and connected

The best therapists I worked with were my last two 'helpers'. The first one was a woman my age with whom I got in contact with in my twenties when I developed a depression out during my first job. What was important to me was that we were on the same level, it was an equal 'relationship'. When I was younger I felt a lot of distance between me as a teenager and the mature or grown up therapists.
But with this woman I felt a connection. She really listened to me and helped me focus on the bottlenecks in my life that had influence on my depression. Cognitive behavior therapy really helped me a lot. I was able to talk about practical problems and my therapist would help me find solutions for them. Changing my thought patterns was an essential part for me to get stronger and develop mechanisms to stop myself from sliding down a negative spiral.

The last therapist I worked with was also a woman, a few years older than me and and a mom as well. What I found helpful is that she asked me a lot of questions to help me understand what I was feeling and how these feelings originated. Having someone who listens to you without judging is essential. You have to feel safe, heard and connected to begin your healing proces.

Health care insurance

Finding help for your problems can be difficult when your health care insurance doesn't cover those expenses. Here in Holland basic health care changes every year. I remember there was a time when my therapy wasn't covered by my insurance. I was a high school student back than (I did a special course for grown-ups to get my high school diploma). For 45 minutes of therapy I'd get a bill for E 80,- dollars. My parents were divorced and our financial situation at home wasn't good.
That was a very hard time. I knew I needed the help but couldn't really afford it.
So make sure you know what costs are covered by your health insurance.


Waiting list mediation

Having to wait for help when you finally take the step to work on yourself is awful. I remember when I finally had the courage to ask for help I was placed on a waiting list for 6 months. Your health insurance can be a big help when it comes to waiting list mediation. When I was seeking help for the depression I was fighting during my first job I was told the waiting list for psychological help was so long it would take months to get an appointment for the first intake session.
I called my health insurance to ask if they could help me out. They helped me by checking the waiting lists of several psychologists and they actually found me one were it would only take a few weeks for me to get help. I was so glad I called! 
I learned that you can always ask and you might just get what you want.


Time and place

When you're still in school or working it's also important to plan your therapy sessions on a time convenient for you. Make sure you find out beforehand on what days your therapist is available.
When I was in therapy while I was working I tried to plan my sessions at the end of the day as much as possible. When you had an intense session it's nice to be able to go home and reflect instead of getting back to work. Some therapist even offer evening office hours.


Momentum

The last advice I want to give you is time. Starting your journey towards healing is the hardest. You have to be ready and willing to work on your problems. You have to do it for you and not because someone is forcing you to take action. 
There is a song from a band which really helped me with their music to connect my feelings to words. 
It can feel safe to stay in that dreaded depression because facing your feelings and problems is frightening. 


You don't have to fight this alone. Go on, gather up your courage and take the first step and ask for help.


Love,

Mandy


To read more about my battle with depression click here

9 comments:

  1. I good connection is so important!

    I am so proud of you for sharing this. As a friend I recognize you a lot in these writings. After we meet, I Always think: Oh Gwen, you talked to much...! So by reading these items, I learn more about you!

    I have common experience. My first therapist and I hadn't a connection at all. But, to be honest, I think I wasn't ready to work on myself either. I knew there was something wrong, but couldn't tell what. It is so hard to speak about what you feel, if you don't know how to. And if there isn't a connection, you will not be completely honest and it won't help.

    My second also last therapist was a blessing! I really have grown during that period of two years. I saw here twice a month. For me, I wanted to go every day. But like you said, it is so expensive!

    On a beautiful day we had an walk outside. So there was an happy, relaxed sphere.

    I have two reasons why she was good for me:

    1. She sat there for me. Oh well, offcourse I paid her for that. But one of my issues is me Always defending the choices in life. And in the beginning also towards her. She askes me, Why are you doing that? I am not interested in why you did what you did, but how you feel and what those feelings make you do. Offcouse she has an oppinion. Everyone does. But by saying that, I opened up a lot. My friends and family had many oppions about certain subjects in my life. And I felt a sort of pressure. That I had to deal with those subjects, because of their oppions. I explained that to my therapist. And she was very clear: If you are not ready to deal with those subjects, that is okay. What subjects are important for you to deal right now?

    2. She asked me the right questions! I think when you are in a process like that you have your ups and downs. Well, I was in my up time period and saw the costs I made by seeing her. I wanted to quit my therapy, because of the high costs. I don't think that is a good reason (afterwards). But, somethimes people don't have a choice. I did have a choice, but it was more convenienant to save the costs. So I prepared the conversation of quiting and told myself because it was going great!! So I sat there and began with my arguments. And something happend, what I didn't prepare for: She went with my story: Gwen, so great to hear everything is going well with you. And sure, if you want to quit, we can quit. I am so excited for you, you have everything under control.

    I really felt great and went with her what she was saying! I thought, Yess, I will save a lot of money! And then.. The question: Gwen, how did you planned to do that? What she meant was, how I made sure I kept everything under control en kept being so great.

    I couldn't answer that question. That was the sign for me, that is was better for me not to quit. I know I have pushed, she would have let me go. But not with her concent. And the beautiful thing is, she didn't tell me why it wasn't a good idea to quit, no she gave me the opportunity to figger it out myself.

    I am so gratefull Marloes was my therapist!

    And I am very greatfull for you telling your stories! It helps me to understand you better. And helps others to concure their problems! It is in The Netherlands such a taboo. I think in the USA it is more common people are seeing a therapist.

    I can recommend it to everybody!

    Xx

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  2. Hi Mandy,
    Thank you for sharing this very brave and personal post in our #ShowcaseTuesday #linky
    Have an awesome day

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  3. Great advice here and I think I agree with the connection - if it feels right, then it probably is right. Stopping by from #creativemondays

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  4. Hi Mandy - Thanks for these great reminders about choosing a therapist who is a good fit for you. And thanks so much for sharing with the Let's Get Real party.

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  5. Great advice and a very informative post. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

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  6. Thank you for the read. I found it very interesting. I have never had to fight against depression myself, but one of my dearest friends has worked with several therapists, never really feeling satisfied, until recently when he started going to a young woman, fresh from her studies. I hope it works out for him, we have these long walks once a week where we talk about all sorts of things. I also hope you have found what you are looking for. You are always welcome to contact me, should you want to reach out to someone.
    I will be reading many more of your blogs for sure.
    Sincerely
    Øssur

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  7. Great article, Mandy. I struggled with depression for years. I would go to the therapist my insurance covered only to have it be useless. There was no human connection so I just clammed up and, therefore, shut down. It is so important to find someone you can really feel comfortable with that allows you to just be yourself and fully open up.

    Eli Broome @ The Relation Foundation

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  8. Depression can be a troubling time for many, so it is important to find a therapist who is right for you. I think that a therapist who you feel emotionally connected to is the most important attribute. You can’t begin to heal until you are able to find the words to express how you feel to the right person.

    Jason Hayes @ DECORM

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  9. Thanks for your courageous post, Mandy. I'm sure a lot of people find it helpful. One thing, however, somewhat disturbed me. You said that people should make sure their insurance covers it before seeing a therapist. I disagree. If you need help, you should make an appointment and discuss your options since many therapists charge according to sliding scales.

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