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Will it actually help me?

When I first approached the address of my therapist for my first session, I was filled with dread. I had previously seen therapy as something that other, less stable people needed. I went in thinking that I was broken and simply needed fixing.

50 minutes later and my first session had finished. I had liked my therapist and felt comfortable around him straightaway. Yet I felt emotionally drained and much more miserable than when I had entered. Talking about my problems for almost an hour had, unsurprisingly, left me pretty dazed. I questioned how putting myself through that every week could ever really help me. I was tempted to sack it off, backing my own independent efforts to help me more.

However, I carried on. I am relieved I did. After a few weeks I started to enjoy my sessions. I began to see them as a sort of outlet. The ability to speak freely to someone without having to worry about the implications of what you said or discussed felt extremely liberating. I became much less distracted during the day. Getting things off my chest helped take them off my mind during the week and if something did distress or unsettle me, I knew I had someone every week to talk to about it. 

What I had suffered from most prior to therapy was a terrible feeling of regret. This feeling was demotivating and horribly cyclical. I felt trapped, endlessly thinking “what could have been” and couldn't help but see my current situation as incredibly inadequate. Therapy helped me to unpick my feelings and understand my reactions to certain things and people. By doing this I saw much more clearly the ways I could make myself feel better and improve myself as an individual. After this my productivity went up and reciprocally so did my happiness. I started to sleep much more soundly and had a much more regular diet. My relationships with both friends and family also started to feel relaxed and calm, as they had done previously.

After around five months of therapy my perspective on the mental health issue completely changed. I realised that the argument for mental health is not properly made. Mental health affects everyone. In the same sense that everyone’s physical health benefits from exercise, everyone’s mental health will benefit from therapy. You do not have to have a mental health problem to gain a lot from talking to a therapist.

The shutdown really begins - create some space...

How are you managing?

We know that divorce lawyers are busy after the holidays.  We know that spending time together at home in a family setting can lead to intensifying hostilities. If you live alone, it can lead to greater feelings of isolation.

So, are you going to use the enforced shutdown for more bickering and heartache, or as a chance to gain a new perspective on your life?

Given you are stuck at home, you might want to consider consulting a therapist.

There are drawbacks about doing this from home with others around. You don't get the chance to make the journey to your therapist's room. That in-between time often allows space for the mind to clear itself from the debris of every day life. There are of course rituals about going to see your therapist. For instance, a coffee, or a particular route. All of those are gone. So, you have to create your own space, both in your head and in your home.

You'll need to find a room where you won't be interrupted, and where you feel you can speak without being overheard. If you're using Zoom, you'll need to create the right angles with your computer and phone so you feel comfortable.  If you're using a landline or phone, you'll need to make sure it has enough charge for 50 minutes.

Attending to these practical concerns will help carve out the psychological space you'll need to have a more meaningful engagement with your therapist.  Once the "frame" has been set up, you'll be able to free your mind up more, and allow yourself to get into the process.