Paging Dr. Friend, Help the Anxious and Depressed Women In Your Life
This month is Women’s History month and we wanted to share some important information about anxiety and depression in women. To start, did you know that women experience both anxiety and depression at a higher rate than men?
There can be various reasons for this, but most likely we see this come about due to hormonal changes and societal expectations placed on women in today’s family units and workplace environments. Women are widely praised as being “superwoman” and while that title can be flattering, it bears an amount of pressure that is often unbearable.
The women experiencing anxiety or depression can be our closest friends, family members and ourselves. Sometimes it’s hard for us to speak up and tell someone how we are feeling, which is why when we find out that someone close to us has been suffering, it can appear to be surprising. The good news is that we can check on our friends and check in with ourselves to make sure that we are all okay.
Here are a few quick tips to help women who struggle with anxiety and depression. Let’s help each other out this month and for the years to come!
- Make a list of your closest friends who are women or identify as women (and family members as well!).
- Set a day and time to check in with them and catch up on their lives at a time convenient for the both of you. To schedule this can be a challenge, we are all so busy. Try this format: Monday- send a quick text message to the friend/family member and see what days and times are usually best for a call to catch up (in person is great too, if you both have the time- the key here is to help feel better not stress either of you further). Send a quick calendar invite so that it isn’t forgotten. Have your call or meet up!
- During your check-in call or meeting, practice active listening. A good rule of thumb is no nearby phones or distractions. This could be after the kids have gone to bed or on the weekend when they are at a friend’s house.
- Set a time to follow up with your friend or family member! The relationship doesn’t end here, set some reminders to check in with them and make sure that they know that they feel valued and loved.
- Explore how you felt after the call or meeting. Did what they say resonate with you? Did you feel you wanted to take your own advice? Make one last appointment for self-care to take care of YOU as well.
This practice is not just helpful for your friend, but it can be helpful for you as well. If you feel as though people don’t reach out to you as much, this will help to connect with them and often a little effort goes a long way. Your friend may be encouraged by you reaching out, and want to make more of an effort as well. Relationships are work, and so is lifting each other up! The more that we connect on the phone and in person, the better we feel mentally and spiritually. Who will you reach out to this month?
With so many options on the internet for therapy, finding a therapist can be overwhelming. Add overwhelm to how you are already feeling and it’s a recipe for frustration! We understand and want to help you find the right therapist for you.
While many great platforms exist to help you find a great therapist (for example: Psychology Today or Therapy Den), we are providing 5 easy steps to help you get started. These steps can be used along with platforms like Psychology Today, or separately!
Our steps can help you find the right match and there are many things to consider when finding a therapist. The search may not be quick, but that’s ok! It’s most important to take the time to find someone who is qualified, experienced, and someone you can trust.
Here are a few tips to help you in your search for finding a therapist:
- Research: Before you make an appointment, make sure to research. Look for a therapist who is licensed in your state and specializes in the type of treatment you need. Read reviews, ask for referrals, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Ask for recommendations: This applies to people you already trust! Talk to trusted friends and ask for their recommendations. We don’t recommend speaking with family, as that may lead to difficult situations. However, friends may be able to provide you with insight into which therapist would be the right fit for you.
- Consider your comfort level: Your comfort level is important when it comes to therapy. Make sure you feel comfortable with the therapist you choose. Set some internal boundaries and consider the type of person you are most comfortable with before meeting. For example, some therapists can be more blunt and to the point, and some can use a softer approach. Whichever will help you most is the right choice.
- Schedule a consultation: Before committing to a therapist, schedule a consultation to get a feel for how the therapist works and if they are the right fit for you.
- Check your insurance: Before scheduling an appointment, make sure your insurance is accepted at the practice. If you have any questions, they can assist!
We hope these tips will help with finding a therapist! To learn more about our therapists click here.
What is Therapy and What Therapy is not!
Therapy Scene from Austin Powers
Just kidding. Therapy is “treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder”, according to the Oxford Dictionary; but it’s so much more for many people. Therapy is often a space where two or more people can feel safe sharing parts of themselves without judgment. Counseling can often provide relief simply through the relationship between the two individuals but its not without discomfort and vulnerability.
Therapy is a place where you can talk about things that affect you from the present to the past as well as future concerns. Counseling does not look the same for all people, nor would you want it to. Later on we will discuss the different types of therapies available and why it can be helpful to find a therapy type that works for you and how you function.
Counseling is not like having a best friend to talk to, although it’s not uncommon for the boundaries to be blurred when you work with a therapist from time to time. Because of the relationship you form, many clients often want to know more about their therapist. Therapists will often redirect the dialogue to put the focus back on the client to help with re-establishing those boundaries.
Therapy is not a quick fix to your problems/issues/concerns. If it was then we could automate it with machines and artificial intelligence (AI). Counseling is often viewed as an onion with many layers that need to be peeled apart to support the person in understanding themselves better.
Therapy is not one size fits all. Not every therapist will work well with every client. Later we discuss strategies to find the best fit for you.
Counseling is not a place where you get advice. This can be confusing because therapists will make suggestions which can provide the client some direction but it’s not ‘this is what is best for you therefore here is my advice’. Most therapists provide clarifying statements using their clients verbiage in different ways to ultimately help the client make better choices. Clients may not be as aware that this is the strategy used but often the clients outcome is a direct result of the clients values, beliefs, and statements.
Why therapy works/Why it doesn’t
Therapy has been around since the 1930’s/40’s. Therapy is an art and a science but predominantly is based off of countless research studies. The art comes from the therapist’s style, personality, and training.
Research has shown us various techniques and interventions that are effective with many issues clients bring into the session. However the number one evidenced based component of why therapy works is the relationship between the client and therapist. This is also why counseling does not work sometimes. When it’s not the right fit between a client and therapist then therapy is not effective.
Many things go into finding the right fit that we will talk about later.
Expectations, Goals, and Outcomes in Counseling
As previously mentioned, there is no magic wand with therapy. It’s more like a really good recipe and part of that recipe is being clear on expectations, goals, and understanding the outcomes of counseling.
Unclear or irrational expectations about therapy can be harmful to the process and hinder future counseling episodes. We encourage everyone to set an initial expectation that there will be consistent dialogue about the work throughout the process of therapy. Therefore talking about what’s working/not working, reviewing progress, and clarifying goals. This should be the expectation between both the therapist and the client. This transparency not only helps the relationship but also makes the goals of counseling much clearer.
Outcomes in therapy look different for everyone. Remember that onion analogy, we will add to that with the idea that onions come in all different shapes and sizes. Therefore therapy could take eight sessions or six years.
Tips to finding a really good therapist
Just like every doctor, teacher, babysitter may not be a good fit for you, therapists fall into that category as well. It’s hard to find a good therapist but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips we recommend when looking for a therapist.
- Write down the following: what are you looking for in a therapist, what qualities such as someone who is direct vs. passive listener, what has been successful for you in the past (an example could be a therapist who is more creative in their practices), what’s your non-negotiables (takes your insurance, no further than 20 minutes away, male identifying, in person, evening hours, etc)
- Get recommendations from other friends/family members
- See if they offer 15 minute consultations prior to being scheduled
- It’s okay to schedule with a couple different therapists for initial sessions. Many therapists may not be a fan of this set up but we often find it beneficial to explore all options plus it helps you to not feel stuck with one person until the other therapists have openings. Make sure to inform them that this is what you’re doing so it can be part of the discussion at the end of the session.
- If you know you’re looking for a specific type of therapy to help with a certain issue that can help narrow down your choices (therapist who specializes in OCD or has a speciality in working with military families)
- Get on the waitlist once you find a couple of possibilities and if appointment time flexibility is an option for you make that known.
In the end it’s perfectly okay to ‘shop’ around for the best fit in a therapist. It will save you time and money in the long run. Check out our blog 8 Tips to finding a therapist
What are the different types of counseling and why does that matter
For some, knowing what type of therapy you need can help you narrow down your search even more and have better outcomes.
Types of issues that may require specially trained therapists: OCD, Trauma, Hair pulling disorders, couples/marriage, school refusal, addictions, grief, suicidality or self injurious behaviors.
Every year new treatment modalities come out that may benefit specific issues. There are certainly some older types of treatment that are effective for lots of issues like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). We won’t be able to list all of the modalities out there but here is a brief list wiht links to better understand them.