That's not my therapist!

Tuesday July 23, 2013

Have you seen those books for very young children; the 'That's Not My...' series? They are very simple board books with the repeating refrain (with appropriate kinaesthetic pictures) 'That's not my bunny: its tail is too woolly/That's not my tractor: its wheels are too shiny.'

When you get to the last page 'That's my bunny' there doesn't seem to be a necessarily logical reason behind the ownership claim; 'its ears are so soft', but there is nevertheless recognition, resulting in resolution (and, of course, finishing the book).

It can be like that with therapists. There's a saying that one day you'll get your prince, but you have to kiss a lot of toads first. And one person's toad is another person's prince in chartreuse doublet and hose!

I've lived with depression for 43 years and, oh boy, have I seen a lot of counsellors and therapists.

Did any of them help? Mmm, some of them did – a bit. Did any of them hinder? Oh yes! But the woman I have worked with over the last three years has done the most amazing job. I have my life back and I have control. Now I manage my condition, it doesn't manage me.

So there will be 'your' counsellor/therapist out there, but you may have to turn a lot of pages to find them. You may have to pay for a few sessions to see if they are right for you – and don't be afraid to say 'this isn't working for me'. Your therapist may not even be a therapist yet. Fifteen years ago when I first met Rosalind, she was a landscape architect – she only trained as a therapist a lot later on.

And don't expect the recognition to be (recognisably) logical. 'That's my therapist – he wears such a nice tie' may not make sense to your left brain, but the right side of your brain knows exactly what's going on. You may need a different form of therapy to your friend, just as you may need different drugs. It's different strokes for different folks. But don't give up – and keep on kissing those frogs!

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