I never thought I’d find myself sitting across the couch from a therapist, talking about the most intimate details of my life — my thoughts, my fears, my worries, my hopes. I’m not a big talker. I find it hard to share truly personal things about myself, and I tend not to let people get too close. Yeah, I realize that it doesn’t seem possible, since I put most everything I’m thinking and feeling out in the blogosphere (golly, I hate that word) for anyone and everyone to read. But it’s different when it’s face-to-face and I see you seeing me.
It’s easy to write about your life when you can hide behind the safety of a computer screen. Sure, I’m not anonymous — I post pics quite a bit and talk about my real life. But it’s different when I don’t really know the people I’m “talking” to with my typing.
So, needless to say, I was quite nervous when it came time to actually meet with my potential therapist. I’d found this office on the Psychology Today website. I was looking for a female therapist who had some knowledge and experience with some of the things I’m going through and wanted to discuss. So, I called ’em up and asked if they were taking new patients. They were — and they were covered by my insurance. After an initial half-hour meet-n-greet, I decided I liked this therapist (for the sake of the blog, we’ll call her Dr. L) and thought I could relate to her. More importantly, I felt comfortable and able to share with her. So, I knew it was a good place to start. We set up my first actual session for a couple weeks later.
In the meantime, I called my insurance to verify that it would be covered. Well, it wasn’t. Our policy changed Jan. 1 and I no longer qualified for some of the benefits that would have kept my out-of-pocket expenses low. And, yes, when I initially called Dec. 20, I did qualify for those programs. So, it looked like it would cost me $120 out of pocket for each session. That is, until I met my $1,000 deductible. Then it’d only cost me $60. As soon as I heard that, I nearly called and canceled my appointment. But I re-evaluated and decided that I really
wanted needed this. I wanted to get a handle on where I’m at and what I’m feeling — and that was worth the money for me. So I kept my appointment.
That was last Thursday. It was a really good first session, where Dr. L spent some time asking me some questions and getting up to speed on why I was seeking out counseling at this point in my life. She sat next to me on the couch, and we were able to talk like, well, we knew each other. It was casual, comfortable and really quite friendly. I found myself easily able to open up and talk honestly about what I’m feeling. We talked about my weight loss, my former relationship, my family, my health and my goals for myself over the coming years. We talked about my periodic anxiety, my need for control over situations and my worries. We also talked about my social life — or lack thereof — and the things I do that make me happy.
My favorite part of the session? It was all about me. I know, this maybe doesn’t sound great. But, to be honest, how often are we in conversations where we get to really talk and know we’re being heard? Most of the time, the other person is searching her own head for what she’s going to say next or how that situation happened to her (only worse or better than it happened to you, depending on the story) or what she’s going through right now. When we’re able to talk, really talk, about what’s on our minds without interruption or competition? That’s when the real progress and exploration happens.
While Dr. L was using this information to get to know me, I was able to kind of learn a little bit about myself in the process. Some of these things I’d not talked about openly with people, so I never felt the need to really hear myself think them. All in all, I’d say this initial session was a success, and I’m looking forward to going back so we can really focus in on some of these issues and fully explore them one at a time. Because of the money and scheduling issues, I’ll be meeting with Dr. L biweekly rather than weekly for now. My next session is next Thursday.