Considering Counseling? Figure Out Your Best Option

Remember in Sex and the City when Carrie and Big broke up before he left for Paris? There was a scene shortly after when Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha all gave Carrie an intervention to talk to a therapist. A scene that was so profound and those who have seen the show know what a hot-mess the characters were, this was advice I can wholeheartedly agree on. As Samantha put it, “not have the blind leading the blind.”

It’s great to talk over our problems with friends and family in hopes of clarity from another person who knows us well. Of course, this is if you have a strong tribe on your side who is trustworthy and wants nothing but the best for you.

So when do you know if you need to talk to someone outside your circle to get a non-bias objective point of view?

Well, for me, I can say I will be seeing a therapist periodically for the remaining time I have here on earth. Trust, when I say I couldn’t have asked for a better tribe. They give me the emotional support I need but in order for me to grow exponentially, I needed an outsider’s perspective to hold the mirror in front of me.

I would like to be real with you. There is a misconception on therapy. It’s not a one and done type of thing. It is work. Much like everything else health-related: diet, exercise, the lifestyle we choose, all of it will affect our longevity. Missing from the list is mental health.

Many people don’t like to talk about mental health because of the darkness it exposes in each of us. It’s counter-intuitive to our culture when you think about it. We have to act as if everything is wonderful and great in our lives when there is the real internal struggle that “should” be kept under our control. Hidden from exposure. This is the opposite of mental health, this is living in denial. I can say this because I have lived it.

I was never one to think I would need therapy until I could describe my mental and spiritual state as a candlelight dimming with every passing day.

This was something I wasn’t proud to say and even writing about it tugs at my heart because it takes me back to that feeling of hopelessness. This feeling and the acknowledgment it existed is what drove me to seek out help.

It turned out to be one of the best decisions I made.

Happiness didn’t happen overnight. For me, it was a season of truth and realization of where I was, what I have been through and recognize where I wanted to be. Nothing came at once. It was all baby steps. Small, weekly, one-hour sessions led to work outside those sessions that turned into thought-provoking realizations about myself and the darkness that each one of us has.

Don’t get me wrong, it hurts to uncover your flaws, demons, and imperfections but it hurts worse, in the long run, by leaving them secretly covered so no one knows. Sometimes not even you.

It’s not until you can openly talk about your thoughts, first to yourself and then eventually to another. You know true healing when it’s easy to talk about it openly. This gives our flaws, demons, imperfections (whatever you want to call it) less power over you.

Does this mean you need to tout your negative side to the public? Absolutely not! It’s the recognition, the acceptance and the overall expression of calling what it is you struggle with to be released. This is what therapy allows for each individual to do. To expose and release.

For those considering to get their mind right, there are several ways to find the right counseling needs that suit you.

If You Have Health Insurance 

If you have health insurance this may be the best way financially. You can call your provider and see if your counseling is covered. If so, your insurance will have a list of providers you are able to see on your health plan. I recommend to go through this list and look up each professional specialties if you are looking for something specific.

For example, I needed spiritual and mental guidance in my sessions to grow so I found someone who practices faith-based as well as had a doctorate in psychology. I saw therapist’s on my provider’s list with specialties that supported various modalities, generation specific, LGBTQ community, people of color, different religions, etc.

Make sure to read the bios and specialties and see who would work best for you. The cool thing about finding a therapist is if you don’t feel like it’s a good fit you can change directions. If you are going on insurance be sure a change of a therapist, won’t leave you hanging on expenses. You can call the therapist office ahead of your scheduled appointment and find out the best way to go about doing a free meet-and-greet if you are unsure.

No Insurance Options 

If you don’t have insurance, there are many therapists out there that do private counseling on a sliding scale. This means they charge based on a range. Let’s say you find a therapist that charges anywhere between $40-$100 per session. The amount you pay is the amount you can afford within that price range. This is helpful for those who are seeking help on a minimum budget. You can find these providers by going into google and search “counseling sliding scale near me” and many options will pop up.

Again, look at the providers and their specialties to see which one would work for you. Many therapists offer a 20-minute meet-and-greet at no additional cost to see if y’all would be a good fit. If they don’t outwardly advertise this, feel free to just ask. This could save you time and money in finding the right therapist.

Many of these are free or at very low cost. These are extremely helpful when you feel alone in your current life situation to be surrounded by others who are going through the same thing you are. Some support groups are faith-based others are non-secular.

Whatever floats your boat, make sure to do the due diligence on research where you would like the support from others.

For clarification, the reason I say I will see a therapist for the remaining time I have here on earth is that life occurrences happen to everyone of every day, myself included. The help of a trusted professional is one that understands and listens attentively to your story. A story that is never-ending.

Life changing events happen all the time. No one is immune. You want to find someone who understands who you are and gives sound guidance that lets you decide what’s ultimately true for you. Eventually, the guidance will be oxygen to your dimmed wick and your light will begin to flicker again. Growing in strength as the days pass.

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