Marie: Choosing A Therapist… and Breathing Again

Posted By: on December 09, 2014
Choosing a Therapist

Editor’s Note: This is part 2 of Marie’s story. 

Today, I called each of the prospective therapists to tell them whom I selected. Then, I sent each of them a hand-written thank you note to show my appreciation for the investment they each made in me. My time with each of them was very valuable for me – I learned so much in this process.

I have decided to go with Carl as my new therapist.

Before finalizing my choice, I went back to his website to learn more about him – about his personality, about his process, about his qualifications. And, I researched integrative psychotherapy some more.

After doing all that, and after reflecting on what all happened in the interview, I decided he was the best fit for me.

My impression of him is he is highly skilled . . . he has invested years in learning and being coached and polishing his craft. He is apparently very intelligent – his first doctorate’s degree is in engineering, his second is in psychology. (His second doctorate’s is from a non-accredited school so he is careful about listing it as one of his degrees.)

I like that he seemed to be highly attuned to what was going on with me during the interview and that he was able to nimbly adjust his approach in response. It reminded me of a gymnastics coach standing nearby to provide support as a newbie student attempts a challenging exercise – creating plenty of space in which the student can stumble around but sticking close enough to catch the student if he falls.

He is a published writer (books and articles) and has a love affair with words and language.

Of all the therapists, he felt the most “enlightened” and “evolved” on a personal/spiritual level. On his website, he posted an article he wrote about the role integrative psychotherapy has played in his life. In the article, he briefly mentions his own journey of healing from a “relational history of cumulative neglect.” So, he has first hand experience in healing from childhood trauma.

I am really impressed with him. I think there is a good chance he can handle going where I need to go.

Also, I don’t feel a sense of traumatic history with him (or with people like him). When I first met my previous therapist, I could feel all the historical drama from my relationship with my dad rise up and Velcro itself to the relationship. I feel nothing like that with Carl. I feel like there is a clean slate there.

I’m thinking that is a good thing – an absence of enmeshment would be very good.

I also am impressed with the mode of therapy he uses . . . here is a quote from the Institute of Integrative Psychotherapy’s website that resonates with me:

“[Integrative psychotherapy] refers to the process of integrating the personality: taking disowned, unaware, or unresolved aspects of the self and making them part of a cohesive personality, reducing the use of defense mechanisms that inhibit spontaneity and limit flexibility in problem solving, health maintenance, and relating to people, and re-engaging the world with full contact. It is the process of making whole. Through integration, it becomes possible for people to face each moment openly and freshly without the protection of a pre-formed opinion, position, attitude, or expectation.”

If I understand it correctly, this mode of therapy is about causing changes to one’s core character as opposed to simply “managing” (white-knuckling?) one’s outward behavior. That sounds good to me . . . very good.

So, we are going to have our first session in a couple of weeks from now . . . on March 30th.

I’m feeling a sense of relief.

I can feel the tension starting to fade and the hope starting to return. The emotions have been pretty intense throughout this process of ending things with my previous therapist and beginning things with a new therapist. As a result, I have been binge eating pretty heavily.

But, today, the desire to binge is fading along with the doubt and despair. I am breathing again.

Other posts in Marie’s series:

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