Hey, y’all! I am always beyond thrilled to hear from YOU! I’m toying with the idea of making this Dear Ginger series a regular thing because I’ve been getting some wonderful questions that I’m hoping will be able to encourage even more people.
I’ve received a few messages asking me to share more about my time seeing a counselor, so today I wanted to chat a bit about counseling and therapy.
How did you pick your counselor? ~
The very first time I stepped into a counselor’s office was only a few days after I discovered and confronted my husband’s infidelity. I called a local church with a well-known counseling center, and we had an appointment that week. Our counselor gave us books to read, projects to try, and listened to both sides of our story. It was about six months later that I knew for sure that our marriage was over, and as heartbreaking as it is to file for divorce, I also had peace in my heart that this was what I needed to do.
I also began seeing a therapist by myself, to work through my betrayal, hurt, and rebuilding myself into a stronger wife and mother. This was absolutely the best thing that I have ever done for myself. When hurting women write to me saying that their marriages have just ended and want to know what they should do next, my answer is always the same: Please go see a counselor. Find one that you trust and feel comfortable with. I could not have made it through that devastating time without her.
I have continued seeing my personal therapist, even six years later. She has been there guiding, challenging, and inspiring me through picking up the pieces in the aftermath of the affair, helping me to save my marriage, strengthening me when I became a single mom, celebrating with me when I married my Beloved, wisely counseling us as we began life as a blended family, and holding my hand through rough seasons of co-parenting after divorce. She has inspired me to face other difficult things in my past, and to come out stronger and healthier on the other side – for my boys, for Joe, and for myself. She truly helped to change my life.
How did your counselor help you?
– She gave me practical steps to know what to do next when I was too overwhelmed to go on.
– She helped me to see the bigger picture, even when I couldn’t see past my hurt.
– She urged me to write a letter to the Other Woman.
– She gave me homework that helped me to heal in a productive way.
– She gives me assignments that continues to help me to grow as a woman.
– She challenges me to do what I’m good at – to follow my passions and calling.
– She is on my team – and I know that I am not alone.
– She has never once invalidated my feelings – but gives me a safe place to be vulnerable and open about the things going on in my life.
– She urged me to write and share my story with others – so I started this blog.
– She didn’t leave me where she found me – and I am so much better because of seeing a therapist!
How do I find a therapist of my own? ~
There are several ways to start looking for a counselor. I first asked my doctor’s advice and received a list of recommended names. I ultimately decided to find one associated with a church, but that was my preference at the time. You could check out local churches and counseling centers in your area. I love giving the name of my therapist to friends who are looking for someone to see – so ask a trusted friend if they have any recommendations for you.
I am so thankful for the reader who recently gave this wonderful advice, and said that I could share it with you:
I’m a person who has been in therapy and I’m also a counselor-in-training (working on my master’s degree), so I wanted to let you know a few ways to find a therapist. Sometimes you can get a referral from your physician, but also, the American Psychological Association and American Counseling Association both have website tools to help you find accredited professionals in your area. Here is the website for the ACA: http://www.counseling.org/aca-community/learn-about-counseling/what-is-counseling/find-a-counselor and here is the website for the APA: http://locator.apa.org/
Also, this website from the APA has some questions and things to look for to make sure the person you find is a) a good professional and b) a good fit for you: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/choose-therapist.aspx
What about you? ~
Do you have any other tips for readers who are thinking about visiting a counselor? Has one helped in your own life? I’d love to read how counseling has helped you!
Do you have any other questions for me? I always love hearing from you, so please don’t be shy! Leave me a comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if there is anything that you would like to see me answer here!
Until next time…