Boundaries are the barriers we create between ourselves and others that allow us to have a healthy amount of distance in our relationships. Boundaries can be both physical and psychological. Although boundaries are a very important and healthy part of every relationship, setting boundaries can feel hard. The first step in setting boundaries is to get in touch with and notice your own limits and your own needs in a relationship, and then be able to communicate those directly. Examples of setting a boundary might be deciding to not hang out with someone or spend as much time with someone because they're getting on your nerves a little bit, or it could be saying no to something that someone else wants you to do, but you just don't feel comfortable with. A big part of setting boundaries involves tolerating the negative emotions that may come up when you have to say no or set a limit. Psychotherapy is a wonderful place to get more in touch with your own needs, your own limits, and learn how to set boundaries in healthy relationships.
Therapy can be very expensive at times. Consider that if you're seeing a therapist once a week and paying somewhere between $150 and $250 an hour, that can really add up. Fortunately, there are ways to offset the costs of therapy. First of all, if you have health insurance, it could be a good idea to reach out to your health health insurance provider and ask which therapists would be covered under your plan. Sometimes therapists can be covered in network as well as sometimes your insurance plan may have out of network benefits, which means it will cover part of the therapy for therapists that may not be in your insurance network. Additionally, some therapists offer what's called a sliding scale, where they will make an assessment of your need based on your income and offer you a rate that you can afford. Additionally, group therapy can be a very economical way of getting therapy and getting help. If you're on a college campus, go seek out your college counseling services. They're oftentimes included as part of your tuition.
There's often a stigma associated with going to see a therapist. You might say to yourself, if I go see a therapist, that means I'm crazy. Or if I go see a therapist, that means I can't handle my own issues. The truth is that many people seek therapy, even people who aren't dealing with mental health disorders. Oftentimes therapy can help us become better versions of ourselves by helping us learn skills as well as insights about ourselves. A good therapist will help you find the strength within yourself to deal with the situations that you're dealing with.
Therapy is a great place to deal with symptoms of depression and improve your ability to cope with depression. Depression often involves a tendency to have negative thoughts about how we view ourself, the world, and the future. Therapy is a place where you can step back and notice those thought patterns and begin to replace them with more healthy and adaptive thoughts. Depression also involves difficulty in relationships and losses. Therapy is a place that you can work through those feelings and learn how to communicate in your relationships better. Overall, as a whole, therapy is a place for you to get support, but unlike the other supports you have in your life (like your family members, your friends) your therapist is an unbiased objective, support who is there to help you with your life without having their own perspective because they're uniquely interwoven into your life. That's an important distinction of how your therapist is different from other supports in your life. Lastly, medication is a very important part of the treatment of depression and maybe necessary in addition to therapy. Often a combination of both medication and therapy is the gold standard for treating depression.
When you're meeting your therapist for the first time, it can often be difficult to know, is this the right therapist for me? What you're looking for is what we call fit or patient therapist fit. What that means is that the personality of the therapist fits your needs as a patient. That doesn't mean the therapist needs to be your best friend, but it does mean that the therapist needs to be able to push you when you need to be pushed and at the same time help you along through your journey. If your first therapist or your first experience with therapy didn't go exactly the way you wanted, there's a good chance that it was related to fit and if so, give it another try and see if you can find a therapist that might fit your needs a little bit better. Don't be afraid to tell your therapist what you need or if you feel the fit isn't exactly right. It's your therapy. Make sure you're taking care of yourself. Therapists are trained to recognize a good fit with a patient and a therapist, and if they feel that it's not a good fit, they'll refer you to someone else. It's kind of like if you go to see a dentist for a broken bone, that dentist isn't going to be able to help you, and so they'll refer you to a doctor that will be able to help.
Therapy should not be thought of as medication - something that you just get when you are sick. Therapy should be thought of as a process for personal growth. But with that in mind, I think it is important to keep in your mind that if you're struggling with depression, you should seek immediate help. When you go to a therapist, you will be exploring a lot about yourself and it will allow you to develop some insight into some of the problems that you are struggling with daily. Finding the right therapist might take you some time, so when you go to the first session, your therapist is going to ask you a bunch of questions because he's going to want to know a lot about yourself and your history. This is a good time for you to also get to know a lot about your therapist. What that means: you'll get to know if this is the right person for you to share everything about yourself. It might take one, two, or three sessions for you to figure that out. But the most important part of therapy is the relationship between the client and the therapist. So if you don't feel comfortable, you're not going to get much out of therapy. So when you are there, it is not just your therapist doing an evaluation about you; it is also you doing an evaluation about your therapist.
One way that I like to explain to clients about depression is with the emotional jar analogy. Imagine you have this glass jar with a top on and every time something happens and events such as you lose your job or you had a fight with your boyfriend or things are not going well at work, you put all those emotions about those events in this jar. Your anger, happiness, sadness - everything goes in that jar. There comes a point when the jar does not fit anything else in there, so what's going to happen? It's going to blow up and it's not going to look nice and what it's gonna look like with some symptoms of depression, anxiety, or anything else that comes up. Sometimes it might even be showing up in some physical things. So what happens when you come to therapy? Well, when you come to therapy, you can work through those emotions, process each of those events to find some emotional relief.
Automatic negative thoughts are thoughts that pop into your head and create a negative evaluation of the world around you or of yourself. Everybody deals with automatic thoughts. The problem is when you're suffering from anxiety or depression, these automatic thoughts are believed to be true, and then you start evaluating everything with a negative or anxious light. Through CBT, you'll be able to learn to recognize and identify these automatic negative thoughts as well as challenge those automatic negative thoughts and come up with new, more positive thoughts.
Oftentimes there's a stigma about seeking therapy. People feeling as though if I go to see a therapist, I'm crazy, or I can't handle my own issues. It's exactly the opposite. Think about it. If you broke a bone, you wouldn't think, oh, I have to deal with this on my own. You would go to a doctor. Similarly, if you're feeling depressed or anxious, it's important to go seek the help of a mental health professional. Specifically, there's a stigma against men seeking therapy. Frequently men don't feel comfortable sharing their emotions, and as a result, don't feel comfortable seeking out therapy. It may make them feel weak or vulnerable. It's very important to make sure you take care of yourself just as much as you would if you had broken a bone. If you're feeling depressed for most of the day, nearly every day, go seek the help of a mental health profession.
Depression can be difficult and oftentimes may seem like it's too much to bear. It's important to remember that you're not alone. You can have the help of family and friends as well as mental health professionals help guide you through this difficult time. It's not hopeless. You can get through it. Just make sure that you get the help that you need.
There are three things that you should ask your therapist before starting therapy with them. Number one, their previous experience treating patients like you. It's really important to know that your therapist knows how to treat a patient, that is dealing with the things that you are dealing with to education and licensure. This is really important to make sure that the therapist that you are seeing is held by a certain ethical and legal code and is educated about that code. And number three, fees. It's often uncomfortable to talk about money, especially when you meet someone for the first time, but it's really important to understand how much therapy is going to cost you, especially because therapy can be pretty expensive.
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