Deciding to see a therapist is a big step. Where do I begin to search options for therapy? What type of therapy do I need? If I don't feel safe or don't have chemistry with a therapist, can I change?
Care of your soul is challenging enough to pursue, without being blocked by not knowing what to do next.
The most important coaching sessions I have with a client, is about their ‘soul care support network‘ or ‘circle of trust’.
I am aware that I hold an honoured position when invited into this space. Because unlike a therapist, I am not just invited into the trauma, I am also invited into their dreams, goals, and aspirations. I am invited into the typing of their personality and then I am often invited into their spiritual journey with the practices like guided prayer and meditation that I can facilitate in my sessions.
This space is treasure to me. Because in amongst the body, soul and spirit connections that are made in a client coaching relationship, there is the underlying view I hold of humanity that we have within us, all that is needed to know the next best right decision.
We all just need a safe place to listen long enough to what is happening in our soul to discern that solution. And I say 'soul' because when we over-spiritualise decisions that need to be made with our own mind, emotions and will, I do see people cover up real issues in the name of spirituality.
I, one hundred percent, trust a loving, listening and leading God to guide people into the best place for their soul to be cared for; but we can co-labour with Him in the process and look at some practical steps to finding the best care for our soul.
So here is what I ask people to think about:
1. Would you be more comfortable in-person or online?
There are pros and cons to both. Do you feel like you miss out on social cues online? Or do you like the flexibility and accessibility of online? Can you speak privately if it is online? Do you like the physical action of 'going to a therapist' and what that travel represents?
2. What Issues Do You Want to Address?
This question may feel overwhelming to think about on your own. When I work with coaching clients I ask them the following questions:
a) What area of your life are you experiencing the most dys-function (where are you least functional?)
b) Where are you feeling blocked?
c) What impacts your ability to have healthy relationships?
d) Do you have patterns or habits you cannot correct on your own?
If you can come into the initial search or first session with an understanding of what is currently an issue for you, it is a great place to get the most out of your first connection and test the waters for you.
3. Do you want to focus on thinking, behaviours, emotions, past or present?
You may say 'I don't know how to answer this question'. But I want to tell you, that if you stop long enough and sit with your current challenge, I actually do believe Alot of therapists will engage in a multi-disciplinary approach to their practice, however when you are searching or calling , there will often be one main modality they function strongest in.
Feel free to ask them:
a) Do you specialise in ... (if you happen to know the issue you would like to address)
b) What disciplines are you trained in?
c) What modalities do you use in therapy?
My next blog in this series will help you discover which type of therapy could be best for you as look at the various types of modalities.
4. What traits would you like in a therapist?
What makes you comfortable? Is there a gender you would prefer? A certain age range? Particular qualifications or culture? A particular race, ethnicity or background? Is there a belief system that you would like as their paradigm?
You have every right to seek out someone that is going to make you feel most understood. And for alot of people I know, just being able to articulate what you want is part of your very first step towards healing. I have sat with friends, church community and clients alike who needed to share honestly with me the deep pain they felt in being misunderstood by a therapist based on their race or their life experience.
I do not believe someone has to have experienced what you have gone through to be most helpful, but I am a huge believer in the the power of empathy for what you have experienced. You need to sense understanding, honour and compassion as non-negatiables in your relationship to your therapist. You do not need to feel like your therapist is second guessing the validity of your experience.
5. Do you need to change from dealing with behaviours to dealing with your past (or vice versa)?
This is where people can get stuck. You need to see therapists like specialists. If you had a general family doctor who knows alot about you, then you would be checking back in with them and asking their advice, based on what they know about your health currently, as to what specialists that you need to see. They can do the same about your mental health, as they can about your physical health. But not all therapists will help you with this.
Often this is the space I have the honour of holding with people. By no means as a medical professional, but I often coach my clients with questions that help them discern what type of therapy may be best for them. And I often do it in context of what else I know about them and my experience with the most current therapies on offer.
I would always disclaim that they then take this information and continue to process it with their own professional, personal and pastoral care team they have around them. Seeing me as a Life or Leadership Coach is just one part of their Soul Care journey.
You can take more control of your soul care than you may realise. Just take the next best step. You are on the right path friends
Love Vanessa x
PS: I know this can be an overwhelming process friends. So if you are looking for some help in choosing a therapist, or you think LIfe Coaching may be the first next best step for you to figure out what areas are current challenges for you, then please feel free to book a discovery call here;
Or book a one-off coaching for this type of consultation.
(For summer I have a 20% discount code for the one off sessions to help you start your search for a therapist. You can email me for the code at firstname.lastname@example.org)