Nov. 13, 2019

The Therapy Relationship

The Therapy Relationship

In episode 2, The Therapy Relationship, Elaina and Tracy discussed the value of going to therapy and finding the right therapist.


"The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love." - Hubert Humphrey

Throughout our lifespan, we endure a magnitude of challenges and obstacles. Some more than others and yet many still do not believe in therapy, counseling, seeking help and support, or in some cases, that mental impairments such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD are real issues. 

In episode 2, The Therapy Relationship, Elaina and Tracy discussed the value of going to therapy and finding the right therapist. And share their experiences when it comes to finding a therapist, and their experiences with going to therapy and counseling.

Life throws us curve balls all the time. It feels like when you're making moves and making things happen for yourself, and things are starting to connect, that seems like when life comes at you.

Having that therapeutic relationship is beneficial as it is non-biased. It is nonjudgmental. I can be authentic. Sometimes we need to talk it out and process it to get out of our head.

When I've experienced therapy and working with therapists and counselors, the thing that I appreciate the most is feeling safe as I'm not being judged. I can say absolutely whatever I want to, and nobody else is going to know about it. There are definitely different types of therapists, and it's not a one size fits all.

And sometimes people are like, well, you know, I want a black therapist, and that's okay. Get you a black therapist. Because if that's what's going to help you to connect and be able to be yourself and feel comfortable, do you. You find the one that works best for you.

Elaina highlighted that whether your insurance pays a part or deductibles, this is a service that you're paying for, so why not find the right fit for you? 

And it can be challenging, especially if you want a therapist that is representative of a specific culture or community. But there are resources available. 

Tracy said, we all have to remember that we're only human and that there's no shame in admitting that we need help or that we need to seek help because we're, we're not alone. And we must stop ignoring, ignoring our needs, and take care of ourselves.

Resources, Connect, Shop and Subscribe

  • Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/copequeenspodcast)
  • Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/copequeenspodcast)
  • Twitter (https://twitter.com/copequeens)
Transcript

[00:00:00] Elaina: Cope Queens episode two this is the second episode and our eight-part series Black and Depressed. In this episode we discussed the value of going to therapy, finding the right therapist, and share our personal therapy experiences.

[00:00:15] You are listening to the Cope Queens podcast where every Wednesday cohost, Elaina Jones and Tracy Hampton challenges mental health stigmas through sharing personal experiences, storytelling, interviews, and round table discussions about everyday life challenges. This podcast in no way is replacement for mental health treatment. To learn more, please visit copequeens.com. Now, without further ado, let’s hope together.

[00:00:56] Hey everybody, thank you so much for joining us today. Today we are going to talk about the therapy relationship. I want to just talk about the ins and outs and our experiences and preferences when it comes to finding a therapist. And so, we’re going to just dive right in and get started. So, Tracy, you and I, we’ve been friends for a long time, so I know a lot of your business.

[00:01:23] Tracy: I’ll let you share a little here. Don’t get too involved, share it too much.

[00:01:30] Elaina: There’s nothing to be ashamed about. And I think that sharing our personal journeys and experiences with these things, to me, it’s a sign of courage.

[00:01:39] Tracy: Yeah.

[00:01:39] Elaina: Because I don’t view it as a sign of weakness today. Now, that may have been something that I would have felt in my twenties, but where I am now in life, I’m not going to be ashamed of me getting the support that I need. Because life throws us curve balls all the time. I really feel like, and this is something that you can relate to, I really feel like when you’re making moves and making things happen for yourself, and things are starting to finally connect, that seems like when life comes at you.

[00:02:11] Tracy: Yeah.

[00:02:12] Elaina: The hardest.

[00:02:13] Tracy: Oh, yes. Yes. You know that’s the week I’ve been having.

[00:02:16] Elaina: I know. I know. That’s why I know you can relate to this,  but I just think that when we experienced those moments, who do we turn to when you just need that additional support and you need those tools to say I need to get through this. I know I need to get through this, but I don’t know how to get through this. My mom is my best friend and I know I can talk to her about anything. Just like she talks to me about anything and we give each other advice. But there’s also a certain bias because my mom is my mom, and my mom loves me. And sometimes I don’t know if her advice is coming from a place of motherly love, or connection as a woman, or if it’s constructive. And so that’s why I’m like sometimes like, mm, she my mama, she going to tell me just what I want to hear.

[00:03:05] Tracy: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:03:06] Elaina: And so, for me, having that therapeutic relationship is beneficial because it is non-biased. It is nonjudgmental. I can be authentic. Their input, their advice and their direction, it’s only to see me overcome whatever I’m facing. And I definitely think that when I seek out therapy, it’s been more situational. It’s not something that I do regularly.  I don’t go once a week for 10 years. Whatever’s happening in the moment that I feel like I need that additional support. That’s when I make that contact and seek out, that additional support.

[00:03:43] Tracy: Yeah. And my is the exact same Elaina, it’s more situational. I’m one of those people where sometimes I need to talk it out and process it to get out of my head. I do journaling and other things, but it helps to have that conversation and for me it helps to have that therapist that I can talk with that non-biased person that I can just share whatever with. And you were mentioning family and friends, and I think that’s what people normally or who they normally decide to go to. And it’s nothing wrong with it. You have those trusted people that you want to share things with, but it is something that you want to take with a grain of salt because it does come with that bias, unintentional bias, you know, because they care for you and they want the best for you.

[00:04:35] And then sometimes people have the mindset where I’ve been, where you are, this is what you need to do. And a lot of times things don’t follow that order. And it’s different for everyone. So, I really think it’s helpful just to have that therapeutic relationship with someone where you’re able to share and just be yourself and get a professional viewpoint.

[00:04:56] Elaina: Yeah. There are definitely family members outside of my mom that I feel like there’s certain things that I’m completely comfortable in sharing, but because there is this fear of judgment, because as human beings, we can be somewhat judgy. All of us can be a little bit judgy.  I think that that keeps me from sharing too much. Because I have an aunt.  I love her dearly; she is a very special person because she’s a very caring person she’s very opinionated. And she’s also very judgmental, even though she will tell you that she is not judgmental, but she absolutely is.

[00:05:38] And so when we have family get togethers and she’s part of the conversation, I’m always wondering like, is she judging me in this moment?

[00:05:50] Tracy: Yeah.

[00:05:51] Elaina: When I’ve experienced, therapy and working with therapists and counselors, the thing that I appreciate the most is feeling safe.  [00:06:00] I’m not being judged. I can say, absolutely whatever I want to and nobody else is gonna know about it. Now the caveat to that, for all those who have not experienced therapy or who are considering therapy, please know that as a licensed professional, they are bound by confidentiality.

[00:06:19] But there are limits to that. And what I mean by that is if you are indicating or they are concerned about your safety or the safety of someone else. They do have to breach that confidentiality. It can feel so good to just go in, I’m sorry, I’m laughing at myself because I remember, one of my first therapy experiences where the first five minutes I probably dropped every swear word, imaginable because of the amount of stress that I was feeling. And the therapist just looked at me and she was like, feel better. I was like, I do. And she was like, great. And there’s definitely different types of therapists and it’s not a one size fit all. Like the therapist that works best for you may not be the therapist that works best for me.

[00:07:07] And like many professions, some of them specialize in certain areas. So, for example, there are the cognitive behavioral therapist versus, an art therapist. They have different modalities that they specialize in. And it’s important that people identify, first what it is that they need in a therapist.

[00:07:27] Tracy: Yeah. 

[00:07:28] Elaina: What type of person, what type of knowledge do you need in order to feel supported or that you want to get that support from? And sometimes people are like, well, you know, I want a black therapist, and that’s okay. Go get you a black therapist. Because if that’s what’s going to help you connect and be able to be yourself and feel comfortable, do you.  You find the one that works best for you.

[00:07:53] Tracy: Yeah, I think you’re right. Elaina is finding what fits for you and that’s not going to be the same for everyone. And you were mentioning therapists having different techniques and modalities and things like that, but therapists, they have different strengths too. Like you can go to a therapist where their strength is marriage and family counseling. So, they’re really great at people who are having those family issues or whatever, and you want to, and that’s what your focus is.

[00:08:22] There are some therapists that are great with crisis counseling.  I tell people this all the time, I like in finding a therapist to try and find us a spouse or a mate, you know? It’s pretty much finding that right person for what you’re looking for. And I have known I personally don’t have more than one. But I do know people who have more than one therapist, they’ll go to one therapist for this, maybe for their marriage and family counseling. So, they go to that therapist for that, but then they have their own personal counselor when they’re dealing with their mental health issues.

[00:08:54] So. It’s all about finding out what works for you and really digging deep and being self-reflective and finding out what characteristics are important to you. Because there may be some, you were mentioning race, age, some people may not care about any of that. I know me personally, I don’t care about race, you know, I could see a black therapist or a white therapist. It doesn’t matter. I’m more of an intuitive person. So, it’s like what feels right for me. I know within a couple of minutes, whether or not me and another person will kind of jail. And if I feel like it’s awkward and we’re not, or I feel like they’re awkward to me because some non-black therapists may not feel comfortable with a black client.

[00:09:36] There’s all kind of, ethical issues there. So, I don’t think anyone would ever admit it. But to me, I can kind of feel, you know, a person being uncomfortable with me and that would immediately turn me off. I personally prefer to have a therapist that’s older than me, who’s experienced life, you know? and I know some people prefer to have one closer to their age range. So, it’s, it’s all about what works [00:10:00] be you. And really being self-reflective and, and first finding out what is it that’s important.

[00:10:06] Elaina: Yeah. You bring up a good point. And I know that something that you and I have different preferences. So, like you, race is not an issue for me. I do you prefer, and I’ve had the most success with female therapists who are close to my age, not exactly my age, but within, a certain range because I feel like there’s this relatability, because that’s usually what I’m looking for.

[00:10:33] I’m looking for somebody that can identify and relate to what I’m going through in that moment, and usually my issues are more specific to, me as a woman versus me as a black woman. It’s usually just me as a woman. Here are the challenges that I am experiencing. And so, I, I’ve seen male therapists in the past, and I don’t think that they get it per se, or at least that was how I perceived it. And so, like you said, there was this awkwardness, whereas I’ve also seen older therapists and it just, the connection just wasn’t there. I felt a sense of judgment, and that’s probably my own paranoia and my own anxiety, but like you in the sense that I can immediately tell if I’m going to be able to be connected to someone.

[00:11:26] And what’s interesting is in my professional career, I typically, making really quick connection with those who are older than me. But when it comes to a therapist, I do prefer to have someone that is closer to my age and someone that is a woman.

[00:11:41] Tracy: Yeah. I think I look at it like I don’t want to have a therapist that I can run into at the club. Like, Oh, hey girl.

[00:11:47] Elaina: Girl, when was the last time you been in a club,

[00:11:54] Tracy: But I still have that thought in my head. Like it’s the same age and I could run into you somewhere. I’m not trying to have you as my therapist.

[00:12:06] Elaina: Let’s go take some shots. And see, for me, it’s like, I don’t want to feel like I’m sitting down with my grandma and she relating to something to me that she did back in the 30s that don’t work,

[00:12:21] Tracy: But it does. It just goes to show that, you know, you have to really, I think. Just be self-reflective and just dig deep and just really think about what’s important to you. And even if it sounds crazy, like, okay, I don’t want to, you know, talk to my grandma, or I don’t want, you know, a BFF, you know, whatever that thing is if it’s important to you, then make sure that you take those things into account when you’re looking for a therapist.

[00:12:48] Elaina: Yeah. And I say, you know, you be picky because you’re, this is a service for most of us, right? This is a service that we’re paying for.

[00:12:56] Tracy: [00:12:56] Hmm.

[00:12:57] Elaina: Whether your insurance pays a part or deductibles and all that, this is a service that you’re paying for, so why not find the right fit for you? And it can be challenging, especially if you want a therapist that  is representative of a specific culture or community. It can be very challenging, to find that. But the resources are there and sometimes it just takes time. And I think a lot of times we just, want to, dive right in, or we may be having that state of emergency, but I think we have to figure out, like, if you’re truly suffering a crisis.

[00:13:33] There are definitely resources out there for you to get assistance in that moment, and we just have to be open to it. And then we’re looking for that longer term relationship. You may have to go through multiple therapists to find the right fit.  like you said, it’s like finding a spouse.

[00:13:49] So this is a relationship, that you’re building with someone and it has to be built on one of trust. And you have to be comfortable, because if you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to be [00:14:00] authentic. And if you’re not going to be open minded and authentic, and present and active, then it’s just, it’s a waste of your time.

[00:14:08] Tracy: Yeah, absolutely. And you brought up a really good point about, being picky. And if the first one doesn’t work out, try again. Unlike a marriage where you make that decision, you’re stuck.

[00:14:21] You’re not stuck when it comes to finding a therapist. So, you have a session, maybe, you know, within that very first session, maybe there’s a couple. If it doesn’t work, don’t be afraid. And don’t be afraid too that you’re hurting the therapist feelings because they know it’s like finding that fit. So, they understand if you feel like there isn’t a connection, then, go find it with someone else where you feel like there is that connection and you’re more likely to get the help that you’re looking for.

[00:14:48] Elaina: I had an experience and you know, she was an older woman and I just said to her and said, you know, I don’t feel like this is working for me, I don’t feel like our dynamic is working for me, and I asked her  do you have a referral, someone else that you know, that you think that may be, I could build a stronger connection with? And she was open to that and she found a therapist that I, occasionally see now. And it’s been wonderful. And I think that you, you have to invest that time and energy, to find the right fit for you.

[00:15:18] Tracy: Yeah. Absolutely you do. And the good thing about it is that once you do find that perfect fit, then the work begins. The healing begins. You know, you learn those coping, healthy coping mechanisms and strategies. So, absolutely.

[00:15:35] Elaina: Speaking of that, I’m just interested, what’s one, coping skill that you gained over the years, that you still rely on today?

[00:15:46] Tracy: A healthy one.

[00:15:47] Elaina: Yes. We are not talking about your cocktails in this episode.

[00:15:54] Tracy: I’m not going there today. I promise. But I’d have to say on the two [00:16:00] things I’ll say too, cause I’m, I’m still working on the other, meditation and journaling. Meditation is one that I’m really, I really enjoy. It helps me. It helps me set my intention for the day, and I’ve picked that up through, you know, going to a therapist and we are talking about us talking about those things that I feel like would be helpful. Journaling is also helpful. I don’t do it as often, but I do think if I put the time and energy into the journaling, that I would really see the benefits from it. But those two seem to be my favorites so far.

[00:16:35] Elaina: Okay.

[00:16:35] Tracy: What about you?

[00:16:37] Elaina: Well definitely, journaling, and I’ve shared with you in the past that I’ve picked up bullet journaling and I’ll think of like the creativity with designing it and the layouts and it kinda just distracts me from my day. And the other one, this is probably gonna sound, somewhat silly, but one that I truly enjoy. Like if I’m having a moment, cause I spend a lot of time in my head. and I do a lot of ruminating where the day’s events play over and over and over and over and over again. And I try to figure out how I could have done something differently, which is linked to my anxiety. But one of the things that I truly enjoy is coloring. I have all kinds of, colored pencils and markers and pens and books. I am an advocate for adult coloring.

[00:17:27] Tracy: A lot of people have been picking that up lately. I might have to look into that.

[00:17:32] Elaina: Yeah. It’s one of the things that, my therapist shared with me that she enjoyed doing it. She, she had one that was very beautiful and, but it was all swear words.  And I think she pulled it out because I’m one of our first sessions. I had dropped so many swear words, but I bought it. And I love it.  And it’s just, it’s just, it’s a release. But I think the thing that, you know, I learned through that process was it just got me out of my head for that moment, and it focused all that energy on something that was not so serious.  The biggest part that I’ve gained from therapy is just life is serious, but we can have those moments to just breathe and to just laugh and to just have fun. and I’m such an ambitious, driven person that I lose sight of that. And over my therapeutic journey that’s been the biggest gain for me is just recognizing when I’m, feel like I’m keep going, going, going, going, going, that I just need to take a step back. Because even when we talked about, you know, me not sleeping for those few days, I colored.

[00:18:42] Tracy: Yeah.

[00:18:42] Elaina: And by the last day of me not sleeping, I finally fell asleep cause I just got out of my head and I was able to color and just, yeah. I dunno. It just, it makes me feel better and I’m not ashamed to say that I like the color bring me my juice box and gimme me my crayons and leave me alone.

[00:19:04] Tracy: While you color your swear words. I have to try that. That sounds like it’s fun though.

[00:19:12] Elaina: Yep. Absolutely. So, all right, everybody. Well, I think that is the end of our discussion today, and we hope that you’ve enjoyed this. Tracy, anything that you’d like to add before we.

[00:19:28] Tracy: Yeah, just the fact that we all have to remember that we’re only human and that there’s no shame in admitting that we need help or that we need to seek help because we’re, we’re not alone.

[00:19:38] And we just have to stop ignoring, ignoring our needs and just take care of ourselves. So, if you want to learn more, visit us at copequeens.com and until next time, you guys take care of yourselves.

[00:19:51] Elaina: All right. Bye everybody.

[00:19:53] Tracy: Bye.

[00:19:57] You’ve reached the end of another episode of the Cope Queens podcast. Thank you for coping with us today and we hope you’ll join us for the next episode. Until then, connect with us on Twitter @CopeQueens.

Tracy Hampton

Learning and Development Consultant