On Hiring A New Therapist

2 Sep

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Change has always been a hard thing for me. When one season comes to an end, and another sweeps in to take its place, I usually need a good few weeks to adjust and settle in. Take this weekend, for example. I loved celebrating the end of August with our anniversary date night and the two days spent soaking up the end of summer at the pool with friends. But until we ease into our new school routine I’ll be fidgety and uncomfortable with the newness of it all.

Speaking of change, I had to break up with my therapist of five years because she stopped accepting my insurance and there was no way I’d be able to pay the regular office visit amount out of pocket. I’m sad about not seeing her again, and feel terrible about not having the chance to say goodbye at our last visit. But I guess that’s just the way life goes sometimes.

Tomorrow I’ll meet a new therapist who I’ll share details of my life with. It feels like the first day of school when everything is new and I’m excited and nervous at the same time for all the learning I know I’ll do while I’m there. I’m sure I won’t be able to cover my entire mental health history in our first visit. But in the event we do continue on after tomorrow, I have a few expectations for our sessions.

I hope she helps me figure my complicated self out.

I hope she challenges me to see things from a different perspective.

I hope she teaches me how to be more forgiving of myself.

I hope she realizes that just because for the past three years I’ve been a “high-functioning” bipolar 1 patient, doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with my symptoms on a regular basis.

I hope that we’ll hit it off and have a long-lasting patient-therapist relationship.

I know this is a tall order and I have high expectations for how this will work out. The truth is, we may not have chemistry and I may have to try several therapists before I find one who meets my needs. I’m prepared to do that if I need to. I’m prepared to work through change.

I believe I didn’t invest enough effort with my last therapist. I didn’t go to the appointments with something in mind to work on. It was more like going to monthly appointments where I sat and blabbed about myself and what I had been doing since I had last seen her. It didn’t do me much good. I didn’t grow the way I believe therapy should help a person grow.

This time I want things to be different. I’m ready to work this time.

The sun is setting on one season and will rise with the next. Bring it on. I’m ready.


16 Responses to “On Hiring A New Therapist”

  1. Katy September 8, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    I’m glad to hear you’re continuing to take care of yourself by seeing a new therapist. And it sounds like it’s gone well so far! My psychiatrist once told me that it was ok to “date” therapists and see which one matched you best. (Obviously, not REAL dating–highly unethical!)
    You listed some great goals that you can share with your therapist. It’s definitely your job to work hard, but it’s also HER job to help you do that. A good therapist will key in on your goals and get you there. If you come in with nothing to talk about or work on, your therapist should still know where to guide the session. (At least, that’s what I’ve been learning as a counseling student intern!)
    I wish you the very best.

  2. Hillary September 4, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    What a great attitude. I know the feeling though – I’ve had a couple bad ones and a couple AWESOME ones that I didn’t want to leave. It’s hard to start over with someone new, I think. I bet you’ll do great. Keep us posted!

    • BipolarMomLife September 4, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

      Thanks so much, Hillary. So far, so good. I’m already looking forward to my next appointment, so I think it’s a very positive sign. :)

  3. Linda Killi September 3, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    Super attitude and a great goal!


    • BipolarMomLife September 3, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

      Thanks, Mom. She’s wonderful. I’m very happy with how it’s going so far. xo

  4. Lance September 3, 2013 at 6:42 am #

    Good luck. I’m in the middle of finding a new psychiatrist, too. The first two I tried were not good. I had a regular therapist from 2006-2008 and she was great but she moved away.

    hope it works out for you

    • BipolarMomLife September 3, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

      Thanks, Lance. I feel very fortunate that this first one I tried seems to be a keeper. I wish you all the best with the new provider searches you’re in the middle of. I know how tough it can be sometimes. Keep trying until you find a good one. They make all the difference in the world.

  5. bpshielsy September 3, 2013 at 2:41 am #

    Good luck with the new therapist. I hope it goes well for you.

    • BipolarMomLife September 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

      Thanks so much, Graham. It went really well and I am already looking forward to the homework we discussed and my next session.

      • bpshielsy September 3, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

        Great, really happy for you. I know how important it is to click with a new counsellor.

  6. ScorpionGlow September 3, 2013 at 1:48 am #

    This is always hard, especially when you’re meeting someone new and you feel like you’ve got to start your entire life story over again. I’m so much better about it than I used to be. I either click with someone right away or I don’t. It sucks being tied so roughly to who accepts our insurance, etc., but it also sucks when someone suddenly stops accepting it. I’ve noticed there’s a high turn around at a lot of these places, which I don’t like. On the flip-side, my Aunt has been seeing some patients for 20 years that always come back to her, no matter where she moves her practice, and I think that says a lot about whatever they’re getting out of the sessions. She once asked me if I’d drive four hours (back and forth, not one way) each week JUST to see a therapist and I said”No.” Truth be told though, at this point in my life I just might. It would depend on which direction I was going in, honestly.

    • BipolarMomLife September 3, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

      I agree, ScorpionGlow. I am lucky that this first visit went well and the office is very close to my house – I even walked to the appointment today since the weather is so nice.

      • ScorpionGlow September 10, 2013 at 11:53 am #

        That’s fantastic! I hope it continues to go well. =)

  7. mckarlie September 2, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

    It sounds like an exciting new chapter for you, i think going to therapy with things you specifically want to work on and discuss is the most productive way of healing and working things out. and as you figure things out you’ll gain more insight into other areas you want to work on. I wish you all the best with your new therapist, i’m in the honeymoon phase with one myself at the moment, i’m not sure if it will work out but i’m giving it a few more sessions before i decide. it is essential that you ‘click’ with them otherwise it’s useless. All the best :)

    • BipolarMomLife September 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, mckarlie. I am happy to report that it was a wonderful meeting and I’ll be seeing her again. She was able to identify in our first meeting several things we are going to work on and I’m excited to have this opportunity to take full advantage of therapy.

      • mckarlie September 3, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

        I’m so happy for you! It’s so exciting when you find a good fit. I hope you get the most out of it this time :)

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