My First Time Seeing a Psychologist

· November 29, 2017

I never thought I would need to see a psychologist. What’s more, I had never worried too much about the work of psychologists or thought about what therapy could do for me. But one day everything changed. I started to feel like something wasn’t right inside and I couldn’t explain why.

I felt less motivated. I didn’t get the same pleasure out of things that I once enjoyed. It got harder and harder to get myself out of bed and out of the house every day, even though I felt better once I was out. I felt like I wanted to but I couldn’t. It was a strange feeling. It made me think maybe something was wrong with my mental health.

Time passed and nothing seemed to change or improve. Finally got up the nerve to go to a psychologist. I didn’t know what to expect, what to say, or how to start when I arrived at his office. I was really nervous and reticent. Now that I have seen the results, I can say that it was definitely worth it. It was also different from what I expected.

“Everyone talks about the mind without hestitation, but they are perplexed when you ask them to define it”

B.F. Skinner

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A psychologist won’t tell you what you want to hear, she will tell you the truth even if it hurts

The first time I went to see my psychologist, he started asking me why I decided to ask for help. It scared me that I couldn’t explain it. As I said before, I just felt bad. I couldn’t find any reasons or words for my discomfort. And contrary to what I expected, talking with him was actually very simple.

He was able to help me put my problem into words. He didn’t make me feel alone or helpless, nor did he just tell me what I wanted to hear. He simply taught me to analyze and work on what wasn’t going well. He helped me to be aware of my imperfections, but also my potential.

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”

Khalil Gibran

But we didn’t just talk. From the beginning, from the very first visit, we agreed that we had a common goal. What we wanted to do was help me move beyond my feelings of discomfort that had prompted me to make an appointment in the first place. This is perhaps the most difficult part of therapy. You aren’t a passive being receiving a magical solution to your problems. Instead, you realize that your problems can change, grow, or disappear. It all depends on how you perceive them and what you do about them, directly or indirectly.

That’s when you realize that there is are no magic spells. Change is difficult. Sometimes it is more difficult to change than to suffer through the problem that brought you to the psychologist in the first place. During the process, your idea of who you are might change, and that can be frightening. But the goal isn’t to feel good in the short-term. You are working for change that will help you feel good in the long-term.

“The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best”

-Paul Valery-

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A good psychologist will help you free yourself from guilt, but also make you take responsibility for your feelings

Once you start therapy and put changes in place, it’s not all smooth sailing. Often, since now I was aware of my problems, I tried to label themThese labels didn’t always coincide with what my psychologist told me.

That made me trust him less because I believed that no one knows you better than yourself. Later, I understood that just as no one knows me better than myself, I’ve specialized in knowing the mental springs and cogs as my psychology sees them. It was something quite simple, but at first, I didn’t see it. Turns out, we can all be masters of self-deception.

Self-deception leads us to be too cruel or too good to ourselves. It makes it impossible for us to clearly see our own reality. So often, we wallow in guilt for feeling how we feel or being who we are just because we aren’t doing well. 

But therapy is like a mirror. It shows you to see yourself exactly as you are, not as you wish you were or how you blame yourself for being. During my first visit with the psychologist, he helped me let go of the guilt I had about not reaching my goals, and not putting all my energy into accomplishing them. In this sense, he also helped me to take responsibility for the feelings that were born from that guilt. 

For all of these reasons, my first visit with a psychologist was worth it. Now I am stronger, I have more resources, and my understanding of the world is more balanced. Now I know that I am not perfect. In fact, I have come to feel a certain affection for the imperfections that caused so much frustration before. I can face life and I can fail. All that doesn’t make me weak, it reinforces my motivation to keep growing.

I definitely still have fears, but they no longer sneak into my thoughts and paralyze me. My fears don’t control me because I have the support to undo the knots that used to keep me prisoner.