"[Therapy]...is not about sickness or health but expanding consciousness...it's not about weakness, but about strength. It's about finding satisfying lives...And I believe you're someone worth getting to know." -Dr. Leslie Carr
You ready to dive into my TEDx talk takeaways? Awesome :) Let's start with Dr. Carr...
Dr. Carr's talk on "Reconsidering Psychotherapy" really hit on a lot of my own personal beliefs about therapy and it's plethora of benefits. For one thing, she takes the time to note that you have every right to be discerning about the therapist you choose. This is a sentiment I've expressed to many of my friends a number of times; therapists are human beings, too. If you don't feel a connection with them, it doesn't mean you can't find a connection with someone else. And it *certainly* doesn't mean that therapy can't be helpful to you.
When I first started therapy at 17 years old I truly did not connect with my therapist. Sure, she was a nice enough lady. But I remember spending more time sitting in her office wishing she'd remove the stupid stuffed bunny from her sofa and un-light the gross smelling Yankee candle than really opening up and allowing myself to be vulnerable with her. After about a year "off" from therapy (trust me, I truly get how a failed therapist relationship can taint the whole system for a person) I ended up seeing another practitioner and man did we really hit it off. Since then I've managed to work with 2 other incredibly warm, supportive, spirit loving women (depending on where I'm living) who have used their tools, knowledge base and overall big hearts to help me live in the most satisfying ways.
Right now I see a life coach and therapist, T, (whom I've mentioned here before) about 2 times a month. In fact I have a date with her this afternoon :) I think that if you read this blog at all you will see that I am not an uber-depressed person...I actually live quite the beautiful life, filled with love, laughter and adventure! Hell if I weren't me, I'd be jealous of me! So why bother to visit with T? I suppose for me these are like mini-soul check ups. They are my maintenance visits. They are my perspective smacks that come from someone who isn't tangled in any other part of my world. They are my escape for one hour, 2 times a month, to have a deeply honest, raw conversation about everything and anything under the sun with someone who can guide me down the healthiest path. And sometimes, simply guide me back to *me*.
Dr. Carr also made a point to shed some FDA statistical light on the effectiveness of Prozac (for those of you science minded folks, I think you'll like this) vs research done on the efficacy of therapy...are you ready for this tidbit of knowledge?
The FDA rates efficacy of Prozac as .26, while a meta-analysis (not conducted by the FDA) rates the efficacy of therapy as .97.
...which essentially means therapy is kicking Prozac's ass. I've always believed it would be more than beneficial for folks to step away from the "quick fix" (side note: sometimes, Prozac is 100% necessary and I pass NO judgment on anyone who benefits from it) to really dive deep into, as Dr. Carr says, expanding their consciousness to find satisfying lives. Let's invest in our happiness, long term, ya know? Let's work on a maintenance plan for sustainable health, both mental and physical.
Most therapists will gladly meet for a short get-to-know-you session free of charge. At least, this has been my experience in the past. In my humble opinion it is the first sign of someone's willingness to work with you. Please, do not be afraid to try therapy or life coaching.
I have to admit--talking about my personal experience with therapy on such a public forum can be a bit nerve racking. Even knowing all that we do, therapy can still come with a bit of a stigma. But this is why Dr. Carr's talk was so great for me to hear; her message is dead on. It's not about weakness; it's about strength.
Hell, I'm just gonna go ahead and say this--Everyone should be in therapy!! It's the best!! :)
More TEDx Talk recaps to come...