Self-Soothing Through Visualisation

Self-soothing is a wonderful coping skill to possess.  It helps to calm us when we are anxious, afraid, or angry.  It can help lower our blood pressure and helps us focus. People who have experienced trauma may get a special benefit from these visualizations, but you don’t have to have experienced trauma to benefit from them.

These three self-soothing exercises focus on breathing and visualization (imagining images that are soothing) and are found in the workbook, “101 Trauma Informed Interventions,” by Linda Curran.

Not every visualization is for everyone, so if you try one and it doesn’t work for you, take what you like and leave the rest and try the other visualizations.  Visualizations aren’t the only way to self-soothe, but what we will focus on here. When people with anxiety come to see me I teach them the following exercises to self-soothe.

In the Roots visualization you will visualize having roots that ground you and go deep into the earth.  Some of my clients say that this one helps their mind stop racing and helps them fall asleep at night.

In the Container Visualization you will imagine making a strong container that can hold anything that you don’t want to think about right now.  You can put thoughts or feelings into this container and pull them out when you are ready to work on them.

In the Comfortable Place visualization you will create a beautiful and relaxing scene that you can go to whenever you feel upset and need help calming yourself.

The key to making visualization work is to use it every day so that it gets stronger and easier to use.  Try these first when you’re not upset so that you can master them and they will be more effective when you do need to use them.

Want to learn more? Schedule an appointment and let me teach you.

Much happiness,

Mechele

Laughter Is the Best Medicine

Some of you may be old enough to remember Reader’s Digest. When I was little I was so excited to be able to read the Laughter Is the Best Medicine pages; they always made me smile.

What can laughter do?

  • Release good endorphins that make you feel happy.
  • Relax your muscles- a good bout of laughter can relax your muscles for almost an hour!
  • Laughter boosts your immune system.
  • It decreases stress hormones.
  • It diffuses anger.
  • It may help you live longer.
  • It helps you put things into perspective and not take things so seriously.

Have you seen that Twizzlers ad that’s been running on TV for about a year? In it the people are very serious and cranky looking, but once the Twizzler comes from offstage and starts poking them in the face they can’t help but laugh. I love that commercial because it reminds me not to take myself too seriously.

I really don’t feel like laughing.

Come on, it’s good for you! Here are some things you can try to put more laughter in your life:

  • Watch a comedy.
  • Listen to or watch a comedian.
  • Talk to a funny friend.
  • Watch silly videos on You Tube.
  • Watch videos of people telling their kids that they ate all of their kid’s candy.
  • Watch baby animal videos.
  • Watch little kids play.
  • Tickle someone (with their permission).
  • Read a joke book or joke page on the internet.
  • Play weird or funny songs (anything by Weird Al Yankovic for me!).
  • Dance like a two year old.
  • Ask people to tell you their favorite jokes.
  • Ask little kids to tell you a joke.
  • Look at photos online from the 1980s.
  • Try Laughter Yoga.
  • Think about one of the silliest things you’ve ever done.

I hope that something on this list works. If you can think of anything that helps you to remember to laugh why don’t you send me an email about it? If I get enough responses I will revisit this topic. Let’s try to keep it fairly g-rated though, ok? MecheleEvans@hushmail.com.

Wishing you laughter, love, and serenity,

Mechele

Help Me, I Can’t Shut Off My Mind!!!

You know those thoughts. They creep up on you and attach to your brain like a fishing lure, just hanging out, oblivious to your pain, they could stay forever. You try to make them go away, but then the fishing lure seems to embed itself even deeper in your brain and the pain becomes more intense.

Way back in the day when I was a Junior Baby Social Worker sometimes a therapist would give advice to wear a rubber band on your wrist. When the thought would come and embed itself in your brain you were supposed to stretch that rubber band and let it go around your wrist. SMACK! Sometimes the pain made it go away temporarily, but then it would come back with a vengeance; like Voldemort going after that Potter kid.

What’s an obsessive thinker to do?

Distraction is a good coping skill that can be used in the short term to help get those thoughts out of your head. Eventually you will want to learn more lasting ways to rein in those thoughts. Sometimes a thought is just a thought, but sometimes it’s something that you need to deal with so that it can go away.

Almost 33 Distraction Techniques:

  1. Watch TV or a movie
  2. Listen to music
  3. Sing
  4. Meditate
  5. Laugh
  6. Talk to someone
  7. Work on your gratitude list
  8. Journal
  9. Exercise
  10. Play with a pet
  11. Be mindful
  12. Masturbate (only if you’re in private please)
  13. Create something
  14. Do math
  15. Play Sudoku
  16. Blog
  17. Go to Walmart and take a poll on how many people are eating red beans and rice this week
  18. Go volunteer
  19. Make a list of things you like to do to distract yourself and refer to it
  20. Write a letter
  21. Email a friend
  22. Go blow bubbles
  23. Offer to babysit and play with the kids/animals
  24. Go to a park and swing
  25. Go watch little kids play
  26. Write a story
  27. Knit or do some other crafty thing
  28. Play an instrument if you have one
  29. Balance you checkbook
  30. Give yourself an allotted period of worrying time and refuse to worry unless it’s that time
  31. Give the thought to a worry doll and leave it in another room
  32. Write the thought on a piece of paper and tell yourself that you can’t worry about it until tomorrow

By all means add to this list, take off the things that you wouldn’t do. Take a poll at Walmart and see how other people distract themselves or ask your friends and family.

You’re not the only one in this big world that worries and has obsessive thoughts and worries, but you don’t have to suffer with them. Now go on and try some of these things. Remember what works once may not work as well another time, so try lots of them.

Wishing you laughter, serenity, and a significant decrease in anxiety

Mechele

Monkey Mind?

“My mind won’t shut up.”

“I can’t focus to save my life.”

 

When it feels like your mind is in control of you and you don’t know how to take back control, chances are you have monkey mind. Monkey mind is exactly what it sounds like; imagine your mind is an energetic monkey jumping all over the place inside your head. Monkey mind is closely correlated with anxiety. It is a term that the Buddhists came up with many, many years ago.

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to have monkey mind or to get rid of it.

When we have anxiety our amygdala is overactive and as bulky as Dwayne Johnson. The amygdala is the part of our brain where anxiety and fear live. Once upon a time it helped us to survive by enabling us to fight or run away when faced with mortal danger such as a T-Rex getting ready to chomp us. Now our amygdala responds as if we’re in mortal danger when we’re not. Speaking to a stranger won’t kill us, yet our mind may tell us it will. Few people die if they embarrass themselves in front of others, but some people’s minds disagree.

Sara Lazar is a Neuroscientist at Massachusetts General and Harvard. She has studied the benefits of using meditation and mindfulness. Her study which had people who meditated an average of 30 minutes a day for daily to several times a week for eight weeks found the following[1]:

  • Increased brain volume
  • An increase in the area of the brain that is involved in whether or not the mind wanders.
  • An increase in the area that helps us learn, think, with memory, and helps us regulate our emotions.
  • An increase in the part of the brain associated with empathy and compassion.

So What?

So, there are other studies[2] that document the benefits of meditation and mindfulness on monkey mind. Neither mediation nor mindfulness is easy to do, but you weren’t born walking either. It takes time and it takes patience. When my clients agree to try this I ask them to start at 1-5 minutes and work up to longer times as their concentration improves and their monkey mind gets harnessed.

Are you willing to experiment? The only thing you have to lose is a few minutes a day, but you may also lose your monkey mind and gain the ability to control your own brain and cut down on anxiety. You have to really be committed to this for it to work; don’t just try it a few times and then say you can’t do it.

And Away We Go!

  • Remember, you’re going to start with a small period of time, 1-5 minutes.
  • Set your timer for however long you want to meditate.[3]
  • Darken your room.
  • If you’re not alone let people know you’re meditating and ask them to be quiet.
  • Sit up. If you lie down you will fall asleep. [4]
  • Take some breaths. Some people say through your nose, but I like in through the nose and out through the mouth. Very slow and deep breaths.
  • Focus on your breathing in and out and in and out.
  • Clear your mind.
  • Be gentle with yourself when your mind wanders and bring it back to your breath.
  • Breathe and repeat.

This is a beginner’s guide and as you get better with it your skill will advance. If you decide the experiment is worth continuing you may want to look up videos on You Tube of how to advance your meditation practice or find a teacher to guide you.

I wish you luck and self-kindness, skill will follow.

Wishing you happiness, laughter, serenity, and no more monkey mind

Mechele

 

 

[1] https://scholar.harvard.edu

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004979/ This is a good article, but it is very dry

[3] You can get a free meditation timer in your Ap store. I like Insight Timer.

[4] People who meditate on a regular basis use a cushion, but if you have back problems try a chair. Sit up straight or you will get so relaxed you will fall asleep. The first time I did this my teacher gently smacked me to wake me up and boy was I embarrassed!

Why am I doing this, it’s driving me crazy!

Jasmine was adopted into a family that she stated treated her well and loved her like their own. She said that nothing bad had happened to her as a child.  Her family always stood by her and treated her with patience and respect, but sometimes she felt like she was a burden to them. She spent a lot of time with her family growing up when her adopted siblings would be out with their friends she would be at home.

She began dating as a teen and found that she would put her boyfriends on a pedestal, holding onto every word they said, writing them letters, making them mixtapes, wanting to talk on the phone all the time. Deep down she worried that she was not good enough for them and would start to be mean to them. “I guess I wanted them to prove that they really liked me.” If they responded in kind she would break up with them and then she would be miserable. “They said I was smothering them. Even my friends would sometimes say that I was too intense or needy.”

“It felt like my world came crashing down with every breakup. I didn’t know why I was doing the things I did. I just knew I was miserable. After that if anyone would show the slightest interest in me I threw myself at them.” She used to date “nice boys,” but they started to shun her so she moved on to a different crowd.

“I got in with the wild kids. The kids that would drink during school and do drugs. It was bad.” When she was in college she passed out at a frat party and was assaulted. “After that I really started to feel like I was no good and life was dangerous, like there was no one I could trust.”

Jasmine managed to stay in school and complete her degree, but she stayed to herself. If she wasn’t in class or working she stayed in her room. “I felt I couldn’t control anything outside of my room and leaving it caused me to have panic attacks.”

Jasmine came to me when she was in her late 20s and she hadn’t dated for almost ten years and she was lonely. She knew that she needed to work on her need for control and to open herself up to other people again. She was scared and feared that she would go back to old patterns.  It took some time for her to feel that she could trust me.

Through our work together Jasmine realized that she had low self-esteem as she could not accept that her birth parents did not want her.  We discussed how she expected people to leave her like her biological parents did and how she often left them before they could leave her. “Thank God I had the stability of my real parents to show me that not everyone would reject me.”

Jasmine began using affirmations to get the negative thoughts out of her head that made her believe people would leave her because there was something wrong with her. It took some time, but today Jennifer reports that she has the friendships that she wants and is dating. “My boundaries have improved as my self-esteem has improved and I don’t feel hurt like I used to.  I know that there are people who love me and I feel good loving them back. I don’t think that I have to make people like me anymore. Oh yeah, and the panic attacks have stopped.”

Not everyone responds as quickly to therapy as Jasmine did, she was very motivated to begin what she called, “My new life.” She worked hard and the progress she saw motivated her to keep going. In what area/s of your life would you like to see some change?  Call me and let’s get started on it!

 

God*, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change.

“God*, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change.

The courage to change the things I can.

And the wisdom to know the difference.”

*God, Goddess, the universe, or whomever your higher power may be.  Many people who are atheists or agnostics find the Serenity Prayer helpful. Just  finish the article and overlook the fact that it is used as a prayer if need be.

I am a semi-reformed control freak.  What that means for me is that instead of biting my teen’s head off when he puts the spatula in the wrong drawer,  I remember I am thankful he’s doing the dishes. And then I silently sneak it back in the right drawer when he’s not looking.

But seriously, I like working with people with control issues.  I am a people with control issues. I think that helps me understand why it’s so difficult to change this particular personality quirk.  As a child (and often as an adult) I felt things were out of my control. Whenever I could, I convinced myself I had more control than I really did.  Parents going somewhere I didn’t like for dinner? Well, maybe if I have a big enough temper tantrum they won’t and we can go to McDonald’s. Sometimes it even worked.

The problem was that I believed I had more power than I did, that I was more important than I really was.  Maybe I was even magical. Take for instance when my parents divorced, I was around ten, a Big Girl. I knew why it was happening.  It was because I was told to get only A’s on my report card and I got two Cs. My father couldn’t stand to live with a daughter who would make two Cs and so he went away, or so my thinking went…  All My Fault.

Yeah, that was also about the time when my perfectionism started to rear its ugly head.  Control and perfectionism are related. Really, they are. But that’s a story for another day, Dearies.  Stay tuned.

As I got to be a teen I became more codependent (again, related to control and another issue for another day) and learned to “give” my power away and try to control people through guilt over what I did for them.  “What, you won’t lend me your car? But I just did all of your homework for you without you even asking me to and I missed dinner to do it and I loaned you $20 last week!” That didn’t give me the control I thought I would get.  Teenager’s brains aren’t fully cooked yet, as you can see by my teen “logic.”

As an, ahem…more surly, late teen I realized that I could control my needs by never asking for them to be met by anyone else.  If I didn’t ask no one would say no and I wouldn’t be disappointed, right? So, I lugged my belongings up four flights of stairs to move into my dorm.  By myself. “No, I don’t need any help, thank you very much!” Nope, no one knew what I needed. I was completely self-sufficient. I was great company, didn’t need anyone else’s. Or at least that’s what I told myself as I ate every meal alone for the first month of my college career. Lonely.  See, brain still not cooked.

After graduate school and about ten years into my career as a mental health therapist I decided I needed a change.  It seemed to me that almost everyone in treatment for mental health issues also had addiction issues. I decided to study more about addiction and learned one of the most important lessons in my life (aside from, “If the boy says he’s not good enough for you he most likely  isn’t.”). I volunteered to help lead a group for people struggling with addiction. These were some of the most amazing people I’ve met in my life. All of them were clean for six months to two years and were so grateful. In the meetings we said the Serenity Prayer (see opening paragraph) and I finally understood what it meant for me.

“It was as if my Higher Power had shaken me while yelling, “MECHELE, WAKE UP!  THE ONLY THING YOU CAN CONTROL IS YOURSELF. YOU CAN NOT CONTROL ANYTHING ELSE AND YOUR EFFORTS TO DO SO ARE FUTILE”  That really scared the shit out of me.  Then I got mad at my Higher Power, who was he to tell me that I can’t control anything.  I controlled nothing and the only thing in my power was me and the changes I could make to myself?  And then I felt the most beautiful relief. I was no longer responsible for what happened in the world or what other people did or said!  It felt as if a weight had fallen off of my shoulders and scales from my eyes. My life would be so much easier if I just focused on being the best person I could be and didn’t judge what others did (more perfectionism).

I began living my life that way.  Most days were much more smooth and happy than before.  Some days I forgot and regressed a bit. I’m not perfect.

Sometimes when I tell my clients, “Control is just an illusion, let it go,” they freak out and fight to stay exactly where they are.  And sometimes they change and generally lead a happier life. It’s not an instant transformation and it takes work. There is a fork in your road.  Which way will you choose?

Wishing you serenity and much happiness,

Mechele

 

Affirmations

Affirmations are positive things that we tell ourselves to feel better about ourselves, or others, or situations which wipe out Negative Cognitions.

 

What’s a negative cognition?  Well, that’s all the crap that we and/or others put in our brain over the years that basically tells us that we’re bad, that something’s wrong with us or that we will never succeed.  Here are some examples:

  1. I’m stupid, I will never get a good job.
  2. If people know the real me they would see that I’m a fake and hate me.
  3. Crying makes me weak.
  4. If my parents never loved me than no one will.
  5. It’s my destiny to be used.

 

The result of #1 may be that we feel stuck in the job we’re in and don’t dare try for something better.  This limits our belief in ourselves. Insteady try this, “I can get another job,” and slowly work up to this, “I have  many job opportunities.”

 

The thinking in #2 may make us hide ourselves from others by masking our emotions, beliefs and needs.  Then we never think that we have “real” friends and wonder why we do so much for everyone, but no one does for us. To fix this tell yourself something like, “My friends like me” or, “Some people like me,” and work your way up to, “I’m likeable” or “I like myself.”

 

For #3 we may have been told that we should never cry or that it’s never ok to cry in front of someone else. If we stifle that sad part of us we can never be truly happy (see that Disney movie, “Inside Out.”).  This one will take some action to fix and you may need to allow yourself to cry in front of someone you really trust like your partner, your best friend, or your cat/dog. They may not have the reaction you would want them to have as it may make them uncomfortable and they may not know what to do, but I can pretty much guarantee they won’t go running from the room.  Or you can start more slowly and tell yourself, “It’s ok to cry,” or, “everyone cries in front of someone eventually,” work your way up to, “It’s ok to cry in front of some people,” or simply, “Crying is a healthy expression of my feelings.”

 

If we find ourselves in #4 we may be right, but we may not be right as well. In any case, you’re loveable!  Be selective in who you choose to love, open yourself to love and you will have it. Maybe not the love you dreamed of as a child, or saw in a Disney Princess movie, but a real one.  Try starting with, “Someone must have loved me,” or if you know someone who did love you, a teacher, a grandparent think of them and say, “(insert name here) loved me,” and you can put your cat or dog (or whatever’s) name here if you can’t think of a person.  Work your way up to, “I am loveable,” or “I am deserving of love.”

 

Number 5 tends to be what we tell ourselves when we are stuck in codependent relationships and don’t know how to change and maybe don’t want to change.  Start putting yourself first and say no to people. It will be very uncomfortable at first, but eventually it feels great! We can take much better care of ourselves than anyone else and then we won’t attract as may needy people to ourselves. Try saying to yourself, “I will show myself love by doing one thing I want to do or one thing to take care of myself today,” and do it.  Work your way up to, “I can meet my own needs and will only chose relationships with people who take care of themselves too.”

 

There is a caveat to all of this affirmation stuff.  You have to at least believe a small percentage of what you’re saying on some level.  I’m a big ‘ole girl and if I were to have just begun using affirmations and the one I chose was, “I’m beautiful and love every part of my body the way it is,” I would laugh and never do this again because I wouldn’t believe it.  I would have to start more slowly and pick out some thing I like about my body, for example, “I love the colors in my hair,” or maybe, “I love how these legs have supported me my whole life and taken me to where I needed to go. Eventually I would work my way up to seeing the beauty in my body. Make sense?

 

And it’s not magic mumbo jumbo.  If I’ve heard how fat I was at least 30 times a year for most of my life that screwed up thought is going to be down deep in my mind and it may take years of working on this one issue with affirmations to learn to accept my body the way it is and be grateful for what it’s done for me.  

 

One must repeat these affirmations multiple times a day every freaking day!  It seems like a lot to ask, but you’ll get used to it. I was taught that I should look at myself in a mirror while I said these affirmations and eventually I was able, but at first it was all I could do to mumble them looking down at my feet.  If that’s where you need to start, that’s ok. Just don’t give up!

 

I once worked with a man who thought this was a load of crap.  Literally. He said, “This is a load of crap and there’s no way I’m doing it.”  He was very depressed and unhappy. I told him, “Try this as an experiment for 30 days. Put sticky notes with the affirmations all over your house, your car, your office where you will see them multiple times a day (or put some sort of sticker up that may not say the affirmation, but will remind you to do it multiple times a day).  If you follow this daily and you do not begin to feel better you can come back to me and I will admit that I was wrong and it didn’t work for you.” He really liked the idea of telling me where to stick my affirmations which he believed would never work. Sadly (for no one!), he never got to do this as in three weeks he started feeling a little less depressed and anxious and hopeless.  His wife reported that she was enjoying spending time with him as he was more of his old self and not so grumpy. And it lasted! From time to time over the years he would drop me a line with his progress.

 

So, I challenge you.  Pick out 1-2 negative things that you say about yourself and change them into positive statements.  Find some sticky notes or some stickers and put that positive statement, that you at least somewhat believe on some level, and tell it to yourself multiple times a day for at least 30 days. The worst thing that could happen is that you waste a few minutes every day.  And the best thing that could happen? You could feel better. Go feel better now!

 

Wishing you love, happiness, serenity, and joy!

Mechele Evans, LCSW

 

Adverse Childhood Events

Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) Study-Physical Problems Due to Unresolved Trauma

How scary is this?  From 1995-1997, Kaiser Permanente, a huge hospital in Southern California studied over 17,000 patients for this study.  It asked questions about abuse and neglect that these patients may have received as a child such as: emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, etc.  What the study found was that people who were abused or neglected emotionally as children had a whole host of medical problems as adults.

These “events” made their brains develop differently than people who didn’t have abuse or neglect in childhood. This resulted in problems with thinking, socializing, and emotions. This led to risky health behaviors such as poor dietary and exercise habits, eating disorders, ignoring illness, addiction, and general bad self-care. Ignoring health led to in increased number of serious medical diseases such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and so on.  It also resulted in social problems such as not being able to get along with others, having a poor support system (if any), and mental illness. This all results in early death due to complications of all of these issues.

It is normal for children to numb themselves or forget that abuse and neglect occurred.  As adults those memories may break through and we may start to recall more than we want to.  As we age many people try to distance or numb themselves from these thoughts, feelings and memories by “self medicating,” and abusing food (eating disorders), alcohol, drugs, tobacco, sex, or other things.

“ Persons who had experienced four or more categories of childhood exposure, compared to those who had experienced none, had 4- to 12-fold increased health risks for alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, and suicide attempt; a 2- to 4-fold increase in smoking, poor self-rated health, ≥50 sexual intercourse partners, and sexually transmitted disease; and a 1.4- to 1.6-fold increase in physical inactivity and severe obesity. The number of categories of adverse childhood exposures showed a graded relationship to the presence of adult diseases including ischemic heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, skeletal fractures, and liver disease. The seven categories of adverse childhood experiences were strongly interrelated and persons with multiple categories of childhood exposure were likely to have multiple health risk factors later in life.”  ACEs study by Vincent J Felitti, MD, FACP; Robert F Anda, MD, MS; Dale Nordenberg, MD; David F WIlliamson MS, PhD; Alison M Spitz MS, MPH; Valerie Edwards BA; Mary P Koss, PhD; and James S Marks MD, MPH.

“Over the past 10 years, more than 20,000 American children are believed to have been killed in their own homes by family members. That is nearly four times the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The child maltreatment death rate in the US is triple Canada’s and 11 times that of Italy. Millions of children are reported as abused and neglected every year.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15193530.  Sadly, abuse is not rare.

Is there is a chance that you were abused or neglected but you’re not sure?  Or maybe you are sure that it happened. Do you tell yourself, “It’s not that bad?”  Does it cause you shame to think or talk about this? If so, you’re not alone as most people feel this way.  But I would like you to remember, you were a victim, you were a child and you didn’t have the power to stop it.  You may doubt that, but it is true. As an adult you are empowered to talk about this with someone who understands and can support you.

OMG, am I gonna die?!  Well, yes, eventually we all do.  However, if you have a history of abuse and neglect you can get medical attention and regular check ups, eat right, exercise and be more health conscious.  You can meet with a therapist who can help you look at the ways that this abuse or neglect has impacted your emotional health, relationships, etc as well. It is possible to be of healthy body and mind and it is a good thing to strive for.  You are now educated and have the choice to ignore this or empower yourself to go get some help.

Some information taken from the following link where you can get more information: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/about.html

 

WIshing you much happiness, love, and laughter!

Mechele Evans, LCSW

 

Finding A Therapist

Therapy! Why do I need to go to a complete stranger and open up my deepest darkest secrets? Why would I want to remember the sad or bad things that have happened to me when I’ve worked so hard to keep them tucked away in a box? What if I try it and it doesn’t work? What if I try it and I feel worse? What if I meet a therapist and they judge me?

Some of us may have had the unfortunate experience of going to a therapist and being judged or not understood and coming out with a feeling of mistrust for therapists. We may not know what questions to ask to find the right counselor. That’s why I was so excited to hear about PinappleSupport.com. A place where you know that you will find someone who understands and doesn’t judge. A safe place.

Deciding to go into therapy is not an easy task. It takes a lot of courage to admit that we have a problem that we may need help to deal with. Maybe we’re angry that we’ve been in therapy before and things we thought we had successfully dealt with keep popping back up. Being in therapy doesn’t mean you’re broken. It means you’re healing. It doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means that you’re strong enough to open up and grow.

Here are some things you may want to ask a therapist to decide if they are the right fit for you:
Have you counseled people with this problem before?
Are you comfortable helping me with this issue?
How much experience do you have in helping others with this/these issues?
What things do you do to help clients with my issues?
Can we go at my pace?
Do you give advice, teach coping strategies or just listen?

Remember, ever therapist is not a fit for every person and that’s ok. You may need to try several before you find one that clicks or makes you feel comfortable or heard. If the therapist you try isn’t a good fit, try not to feel bad about yourself or your chances of finding a therapist that’s right for you. Don’t give up on yourself or the process.

Wishing you much happiness, love and laughter!

Mechele Evans, LCSW