I had my first counseling session my sophomore year of high school. I was referred to a specialist by my doctor when I told her about the growing interest I was having in self harm. I was honestly really not looking forward to it. On the media, therapy always had a bad rep, I thought the way it was displayed in the media was true for all types of therapy and all therapists are grumpy and judgmental. I walked in with a really bad attitude, I was expecting to be judged and put down for my feelings, but I was completely wrong.
The first session was with my mom, just so my therapist and her could also discuss what needed to be done for me since I was a minor. My therapist talked about all the different things she was going to work on with me. Things like; getting down to the root cause of my feelings, meditation, breathing techniques, and cognitive therapy. I absolutely loved going to counseling, I left every session feeling completely renewed. At no point in time did I feel as though I was being judged or mocked, all the information she delivered were techniques she truly believed in and they were helping me a lot.
Then two years later, it just wasn’t working anymore. Right as I was starting to get better I quit letting myself get better. I had the same amazing counselor, she was telling me all of the same things and I just wasn’t wanting to do it anymore. By that time I was finishing up my junior year of high school. I was practicing self harm almost every day, I was desperate to just feel numb. At one session my counselor asked me if I wanted to get better and I told her no. I had been carrying this weight of self harm with me for four years, I couldn’t imagine not being able to run back to it when I felt the need to. After a bad day at school, a fight with a loved one, someone yelling at me during work, or just the late nights not sleeping, I didn’t know what I would do to feel numb if I were to get better. Right around that time is when I really started to get further down the line of self harm, it led to daydreaming about what it would be like to commit suicide. I was letting myself dwell in that mindset every day.
My counselor at that time then told me that it was time to get put on medication and to also find another therapist.
I was put on medication and then I started seeing a free counselor. I was still seeing my original therapist at the same time, because she was the one who referred me to medication, so she was the one to monitor me. The new counselor I was seeing was recommended by a lot of close friends who found him to be very helpful. I did not. I went to his sessions two or three times and then I quit going. At my very first session I told him why I was there and the type of self harm tendencies I was partaking in. He proceeded to tell me that he doesn’t discourage cutting. He said it was really just “big scratches” and he didn’t see the need to worry about it. That really put me in a horrible place. I remember cutting harder in spite of him. That therapist put me in a place where I felt like I had to prove my pain. I told my original therapist about it and she was very upset that another therapist would recommend behavior like that to a client.
Every therapist has certain areas they specialize in, not every therapist is going to be able to help you the same way they helped someone else. It’s important to think about what you’re looking for and needing, and don’t settle when you’re looking for someone to help you with these things. I’ve been to four different therapists over the last seven years and only two of them were able to impact me in a positive way. Sometimes finding a therapist can be a trial and error search effort. If you haven’t found one that’s helping you yet, don’t give up. Getting help is so important in the process of healing. It may be helpful to find someone to help you look, sometimes it’s exhausting trying to find help. Having someone there to help you look might make it a little less stressful trying to find a good fit.