5 Things Your Mental Health Provider Wants You to Know
When we enter therapy or other mental health treatment, we don’t always know what to expect. As a mental health clinician and as a person who has also walked through her own mental health recovery, there are a number of things I (and I believe most mental health providers I know) wish the individuals we meet with knew. These are five of those things.
1. We Care About Your Well-Being and Healing
It might be tricky to think that a person who is paid to provide mental health care to you would also genuinely care about your well-being and healing. This said, myself and most providers I know do genuinely care. We are happy to see your accomplishments and saddened by your hurting. Many of us spent our own time and money seeking out training and resources that we hope will give us better tools to help you. We want you to reach your dreams.
2. Sometimes We Have to Make Tough Choices
If you are at risk to harm yourself or others, we may be ethically and legally obligated to take steps to ensure your safety and the safety of others such as helping you to hospital. Similarly, if specific facts are shared with us regarding children, we are often required to take steps to ensure their safety such as reaching out to Child Protective Services. We do not like to overstep your wishes and do not want to damage your trust. This is just what we have to do.
3. We Don’t Think You Are “Crazy”
We understand that seeking help can be a scary step for people and appreciate the bravery it takes for you to do that. We also recognize that the things you share with us likely shame, worry, scare and/or anger you. That’s OK. Living with a mental health condition, surviving trauma, dealing with grief, and any number of other challenges that bring a person to therapy do not make that person “crazy.” I personally have yet to meet a “crazy” client.
4. Many of Us Have Been There
Although we are not likely to talk to you about our own journeys (therapy is your time), many of us entered the mental health field after fighting our own battles and wanting to help others. We may know first hand how it feels to have a panic attack or experience depression, or we have close family/friends who do. At the very least, most of us integrate the same wellness tools and skills we teach you into our own lives.
5. We Hope You Will Come to Your Appointments
We can’t help you if you aren’t here. In the same direction, if you do not feel therapy is helping or do not feel that we are helping you, we want to know that! It might be tempting to stop attending sessions to avoid the “break-up” style conversation that therapy just isn’t working. However, if you are able to attend and voice those concerns we may be able to address these or help you find a therapist who better gels with you.
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