Why is it so difficult to get professional help?

Have you ever found yourself feeling the blues and no matter what you try  you just can’t feel right?  So what can you do to cure the blues?

Well, how about the TV commercials that promise to fix those blues with a magic new pill? If you are a man then you are very unlikely to seek any form of professional help. Instead you will just try to tough it out, hoping that tomorrow will bring a better day. Yet for many of us, that better day does not seem to ever arrive. So then what can you do?

Well most of us will eventually go see our family doctor and believe that maybe there is something physically wrong that the good doctor has a pill to fix us right up.  The doctor gives us  checkup, asssures that there’s nothing physically wrong and suggests that you might want to see a psychologist.  The doctor might refer you to someone, or might not.

So, you finally get around to the decision that the blues aren’t getting any better, you’re sick of feeling bad, and you make that leap to start looking for help.  How does anyone know where to start?  Most people who have insurance call their carrier to see if mental health help is covered and get a list of providers.  At that point, they don’t know what to, what to ask, or how to pick someone.  When you’ve got the blues, it’s already hard to make decisions, let alone this one!

As a provider of 37 years worth of mental health help for people of all ages, I suggest the following, should you find yourself in need of some help.

1.  Figure out if you’d prefer a man or a woman.  For some, it doesn’t matter.  For others, they’re definitely more comfortable with one or the other and starting to look for a therapist of your preferred gender (or LGBT) is  a place to start.

2.  Find someone who is close in age to you, or older.  Therapists who are of similar age to yourself may share some of your life experiences and understand you better.  A very young therapist if you’re middle aged, for example, might not relate well to your descriptions of what you are going through in the context of where you are in your life.

3.  Look for a goal oriented therapist.  Too many therapists are happy to take your money, and be listeners, but the purpose of therapy can get lost.  You’ve got to define why you’re there and what you hope to get out of the experience.  Defining this for yourself is a first step.  Therapy is not an exercise in just talking.  The idea is to help you understand yourself better and make changes.  The therapist who is right for you will be one who has the skill to lead and guide, rather than simply passively listen.  You can buy a mannequin if you want a passive thing to appear to listen and nothing more. Get your money’s worth from your therapist!  If there are no hard questions and no suggestions, you’re in the wrong place.

If you are in distress, spend some time working on finding the right person to help you get to a better feeling place and change the way you manage those emotions.  Therapy can be a lifesaver.  Yes, it’s work even finding a therapist, but it’s well worth the effort.

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