I have started this series a thousand times but never finished because of the complexities associated with psychotherapy or talk therapy.
Psychotherapy is where a patient talks one-on-one or in a group about their past and present with either a licensed clinical social worker, licensed marriage and family therapist, or licensed psychologist.
Here, I refer to either of these three as “therapist.” In this context, I am referring to one-on-one talk therapy.
Over the years I’ve learned a licensed therapist is the most trusted relationship I have. It has become an asset. My therapist doesn’t tell anyone my secrets.
He validates how I feel and, most important, cares deeply for me. My particular therapist is a traumatologist. He has been doing trauma work for over 40 years.
The most effective therapy experience occurred when I went to bulimia group therapy. In hindsight, I’m certain those two therapists who hosted the group knew darned well all of us had far deeper issues than bulimia.
Nevertheless, they walked us through the healing process. While I was skeptical at first, I was a believer when I finally stopped getting rid of anything I put in my mouth. That therapy win made it easier for me to seek help when my marriage was imploding.
Before we met, I’d been working with a female therapist with my husband. When it became clear a woman was an ineffective marriage counselor for us, we sought and found my current therapist.
In less than a year, I’d involuntarily established a long-term, intimate, warm relationship with my current therapist. Something inside me decided he was trustworthy. Something about him said he was the one. More accurately, someone inside of me made the decision that he was trustworthy. Little did I realize that I would have almost no say in this decision but I will delve into that later.
The warmth I felt made me feel safe. It gave me hope someone would believe me, someone would value me, someone would help me feel better about myself and affirm I wasn’t a total loser.
Of course, I, myself, didn’t know what I was getting myself into. This year marks my 13th year in psychotherapy. I have given this man all of me and more. “The more” ended up being memories I didn’t know existed. Eventually I would come to realize his purpose in my life: to help me resolve trauma, catastrophic losses and adjust coping mechanisms.
What sealed the deal for my husband and I was that he also was a Christian. We didn’t have to explain what we believed and why. He knew our pastor well and we needed someone both of us could trust with our junk.
I must admit I have tested this therapeutic relationship many, many times. I still test it today. He is as committed to my mental wellness as the day we met, actually more so because he also is our family therapist.
He has met with all of us, including the kids, one on one. He uniquely understands the family dynamic. He is a deep well of wisdom.
Why talk about my therapy?
I have a need to talk about how I met this man. There is absolutely no question in my mind our meeting was providential, ordained by God Himself. God knew darned well I needed a man strong and secure enough in himself and grounded in his God who could take what I was about to dish out.
The secrets I remembered and those I didn’t would require someone of a caliber of expertise that could have real impact. God so loved me he sent this man, also broken and traumatized, ahead of me to prepare for our meeting. By the time I met him, I was famished. I was so hungry for something real and there he was.
I hope to expand on this therapy theme because it has been the anchor of my survival. Without it I would have been dead long ago. Lord knows I’ve attempted suicide a few times but this man has me on belay. I was falling down yet he was strong enough to help me pick myself up.
If you are on the fence regarding therapy, you want to read this next series of posts. I am convinced that if we could each find our own down to earth Wonderful Counselor with skin on, healing and hope is on the horizon.
Therapy is no cake walk. It’s hard work. I know. I’m still in therapy. However, I’m about to finally turn a corner and begin the transformation of a lifetime. I am about to step into who God made me. I wasn’t destined for mediocrity rather for greatness. Psychotherapy is the vehicle God is using to ensure I fulfill my destiny.
All of us have a destiny. Stay tuned.