Normalize going to therapy #removethestigma

As a School Counselor I have spent the past 20 plus years talking about the need to normalize therapy with my students and my friends. I do that through my social media accounts by posting about therapy from the various facebook groups I follow. I discuss it with my students and parents. I recommend it to my friends and family. But most importantly I participate in therapy personally and have done so for most of my adult life. I believe in the power of therapy to help us heal, deal with trauma and become better, healthier people who make better decisions. #therapysaveslives. The first time I went to therapy I was in graduate school in 1996. What started out as an assignment turned into a vehicle for me to express my emotions and deal with unresolved trauma and pain from my childhood. I know that for a lot of people in my community there’s lots of reasons they don’t see therapy as an option. It seems like a luxury due to costs, or something that white people do or it feels like it is at odds with prayer. Here’s the reveal y’all you can have a Pastor and a therapist. There are black and brown therapists out there ready to assist you in identifying the flaws in your thinking and to help you move beyond the pain and trauma so you can make better choices. Some even offer sliding scale rates and most insurance will cover some of the costs of therapy.

One of the organizations that I follow on facebook is Melanin and Mental Health and it is responsible for many of my favorite graphics about therapy that I share on social media. Some of us feel like we don’t have the time or we are doing okay so we don’t need to seek out therapy. We believe that therapy is only for those of us who are in crisis. But you don’t have to be currently in crisis to go to therapy. We could use a safe space to unpack our stuff, to express our feelings, to discuss and heal from our traumas instead of saying now is not the time. We need to get a better understanding of how we can heal, not by avoiding our pain but but acknowledging and working through that pain. Trauma can be tricky because it stays with us for many years. While we may forget good memories we often replay that trauma every time we are triggered. One of the things I like to tell my students who are struggling with depression and anxiety is that you can’t go around a traumatic event, you can’t bury your head forever and push away the feelings. You have to go through it to heal by acknowledging the hurt. One question I get asked a lot is how do you know when you have healed. Well healing is different for each of us and will take a different amount of time because it is not easy and requires hard work. An indicator of healing for me was when I could speak think and speak about traumatic events without going into a spiral. When I came to the understanding that the trauma of being molested or assaulted did not mark me. When I truly believed that I was not my trauma. When I no longer felt anger towards my father for being absent. When I could move on from the pain of people who hurt me and truly forgive them by not reliving the experience. That was when I knew that I had healed. It took years and several visits to therapists to heal but I’m a better person because of therapy.

So while therapy and healing is an individual journey, I urge you to try it. Invest in your healing. Therapy is the gift that keeps on giving. Where do you start? Find and interview a therapist. Don’t feel compelled to choose the first one. Ask questions about their practice and strategies. Therapy requires hard work so don’t expect to see results right away. Be open to being honest about your life and struggles. Here are some resources to get you started. Trust me, You will thank yourself.

#Gethelp #MentalHealthAwarenessiscrucial #therapysaveslives #Investinyou #SchoolCounselorlife #YoucanloveGodandhaveatherapist

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