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I am always open about my mental health and have shared previously that I am taking antidepressants and have counselling or therapy regularly. I am a big believer in being open about this and today I want to share with you why.
There are so many health conditions out there that there is not a stigma around and I feel mental health should be the same. I understand that because you can not see someone’s mental health it can be hard to understand how they are feeling but equally, you are unlikely to see their asthma is causing them problems breathing until it is very bad and I have never heard anyone say they don’t believe someone has asthma!
Talking about mental health
I believe mental health should be as readily talked about as physical health. If you can tell a friend you have stubbed your toe or sprained your wrist then it should be possible to tell them you are anxious about something or that you are feeling depressed. It isn’t always that easy, I know that, but it should be in an ideal world.
Who do you talk about mental health to? I have a few friends I think truly understand when I am talking about my mental health and I am much more open with them than I am with others. I also find it really easy to talk to Stuart about my mental health.
Seeking help, the first steps
It is a big step to decide you need support and something you should be proud of yourself for. The first thing to do when looking for a therapist is, to be honest with yourself about the main concern you have and any diagnoses you may have or have symptoms of. These are things you need to find a therapist that is experienced in.
For example, I have cPTSD and it was important to me to find a therapist who had experience in this. I also wanted a therapist that was female as I know I find it easier to talk to females about my feelings in general. It was also important to me to find someone I felt was friendly and whom I would see as like a friend when I chat through my problems. Some people may feel they need someone more clinical or someone who can be more authoritative with them.
Finding a therapist
Whether you look for a therapist through a large organisation such as The Awareness Centre or look for a small private one who works for themselves there are a few things you need to consider and check out.
Qualifications and registrations are important. Be sure to check that the person or organisation you’re considering is a member of The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. This is a body which regulates therapists and ensures they are qualified and meet good standards.
Checking the locations they work at and if they can do consultations over zoom or telephone is important. This can mean you do not have to miss a session if you are unwell or have an unwell child or perhaps car problems.
Check payment terms. Do you need to pay in advance for a block of sessions? Whilst this is good in some respects it is something you should consider avoiding if you are not sure if you will get on with this therapist.
Most of all it is important to be happy with your choice. There is no point in going with someone you do not feel happy with because you will be unlikely to open up and address your problems effectively.