I have been to therapy on several occasions throughout my life - I’ll share my experiences in different entries because each was unique, and can provide a different insight into the world of mental health counselling.
Turning the clock back to my earliest encounter with mental health services. The first time I went to counselling I had no idea how to address my needs. It was hard enough struggling with my
emotions, let alone reaching out for help. There were so many parts to think about, from knowing how to look for a therapist, or wondering if I was just wasting time and money. I felt so lost and overwhelmed that I thought maybe it wasn’t even worth the trouble. It was one thing for me to study counselling and train to be a therapist, another to be seeking help myself. However, this is something many have to do without any knowledge whatsoever.
Somehow I could justify spending £60 out on a Friday night at the pub, but coughing-up that much for counselling seemed excessive.
I had to take a step back and look at the situation through a more positive lens. I was seeking professional help for something I knew was becoming unbearable. I was doing a good thing for myself, I couldn’t make any judgements about what therapy was or wasn’t before actually experiencing it. I had to do my homework: ask questions to those who had attended, Google my curiosities, and have a little courage.
Yet, I was not expecting what happened next. I found someone who had the right expertise and was able to accommodate my schedule. A small step, but just making initial contact and setting up the first appointment alone relieved some of my stress and made me feel hopeful.
This was the start of my journey, nevertheless, was an important first step on the way to building a better environment for my mental health.
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Julio Cervantes is a psychotherapist in East London.