Finding and entering a therapeutic setting might be intimidating, particularly if it’s your first time. You will divulge private information to a stranger who should be able to assist you with your dilemma. The therapist should be able to help you get back to what appears “normal” and should know the answers. Or at least you believe that to be the case. 

In our world, we call a professional to inspect, investigate, prescribe, and/or fix anything when something goes awry. When it comes to things we don’t know about or can’t manage, we go to experts for assistance. What if I told you that you are an expert in therapy? What if I told you that the therapist’s job in a therapeutic setting is to help you figure things out together while you are on YOUR journey? What if I told you that, when it comes to therapy, YOU are the expert? 

That might seem off, right? You might be experiencing some uncomfortable emotions; if you were a mental health professional, you would know how to fix this situation or “change how I feel,” right? False. Don’t get me wrong; a therapist is vital in your journey to healing, but the goal of a therapeutic space is to allow you to process what no one else has access to. To be vulnerable about the parts that you hide, giving insight to your therapist on how you function. No one knows YOU better than YOU. This is what I mean by you being the professional in the therapy room. You know the feelings you’re experiencing; you know the thoughts you are having; and lastly, you know what is making life uncomfortable. You know your world and your experiences, and now you can allow yourself to be with whoever you deem appropriate in that space. The therapist’s role is to walk with you and help you through the things you are encountering.  

As you seek mental health support and try to find a “fitting” therapist, make sure you feel seen, heard, understood, and cared for. The worst thing you could do is feel forced to have someone care for you. The goal is for you to connect with the therapist because they can connect with all parts of you, not just the good parts that you display. If you find yourself struggling to connect with your therapist, please check in and allow the therapist to know that you are having a hard time connecting with them. When being professional about you, there is also the need to advocate for what you need. You know what works best for you and what is not helpful. I invite you to show up for yourself professionally. This allows you to get the support you need and for the mental health professional to learn more about you. Trust me, we deeply appreciate knowing your thoughts on the journey and implore you to permit yourself to seek the very care you need continually. We look forward to partnering with you throughout this journey.  

Josue Martinez MS, NCC, LPC