I’ve written about my own mental health on various occasions for a variety of reasons but largely because it was through other people talking about their own struggles with mental illness that I realized just how much my life was impacted by depression and anxiety. It was through the conversation around mental health that I realized just how much my life could benefit from therapy and medication.
- Types of Mental Health Therapy – How Stuff Works
My first go around at therapy didn’t go very well. I was still in college and finishing up a particularly awful semester. I felt unwelcome on campus and going to the school’s health center for therapy didn’t help. It took me another two years to finally decide to go back to therapy after that but once I found an amazing therapist, I was convinced of the good things that therapy can provide.
Finding a good therapist that fits is vital – many will have information about their practice and experience online and will offer consultations for you to see if they’re the right therapist. You might have to talk to a few different therapists but finding the right one for you makes an incredible difference. When I found my current therapist, she made me feel safe and welcome in each session to talk about issues I never thought I’d mention to another person.
- A Beginner’s Guide to Starting Therapy – Heben Nigatu, Arianna Rebolini, and Katie Heaney
If you’re uninsured, many therapists have a sliding scale and there are resources to help you find affordable care or help you afford it. Mental Health America, for example, has a list of resources, including a few different hotlines to call. Some community clinics will also have therapists and there are smartphone apps that also provide some support.
However, not all therapy is amazing. Conversion therapy, for example, is not actual therapy and often does more harm than good. This type of therapy attempts to “cure” homosexuality and bisexuality through various methods – usually in traumatic and abusive ways. For many of those who’ve been through it, there’s significantly more damage than help and there’s never any guarantee or proof that we can successfully “cure” homosexuality or pray the gay away. However, in addition to bans on this type of therapy around the country, there are organizations, like Jewish Queer Youth, and many others that exist to counter conversion therapy and offer support and community for those struggling.
Getting the right kind of therapy for you can be incredibly beneficial, especially if and when you find the right therapist. Being able to talk about my issues and work through them in a safe and confidential space has allowed me to grow as a person and in many ways, has given me the chance to confront issues I didn’t want to deal with. There are so many different issues that arise from problematic therapy practices like conversion therapy so finding the right type of therapy and the right therapists is essential.