About a month ago I was in DC for a conference put on by GBCS for young clergy. I had an amazing roommate that I talked and processed with each night. MJ you rock! And as I shared about all that I am working on and doing these days she (as a chaplain) asked if I was seeing a counselor. I said no, that I had considered it, and even got authorization for it from our insurance, but hadn't pursued it. She didn't push it, but did encourage me to use that resource as a support in ministry. Calling around to find a good counselor in the midst of calling caterers, florists, and cake places did not sound feasible or fun, but she thought I might be able to find the time anyway.
Then a couple days later, I was able to meet up (all to briefly) with a good friend from college who lives in the area and as I shared with her, she too encouraged me to see a counselor. I said I'd consider it.
So, after being home and getting a few things handled at church and surviving the week of too many hospital visits, I called around and set up 2 appointments with counselors to see who might be best.
Let me just say, I've had some bad experiences. 3 to be exact. One really good experience with an amazing pastoral counselor in seminary and 3 bad experiences. 1 in college that wasn't horribly bad, just not good. It was mediocre and I didn't have the gumption or knowledge in those days to say, "this isn't working, can I see someone else?" And then a HORRIBLE experience with a spiritual director during my first appointment. She was so bad I considered never doing counseling again. And then another woman who seemed to hit all the wrong buttons when I worked with her. I made it two sessions and couldn't take it. So I left.
So, I know counseling is a good and helpful thing. I also know that finding the right counselor can be time consuming and even frustrating. But I made the calls anyway. Thursday, I met with counselor #1 and really felt comfortable. She was easy to talk to and I like her approach. She even talked about some new theory on mental health that doesn't attribute everything to a mental illness, but deals with "compound trauma". I haven't read it myself, so I won't expand here, but I'm interested in it and think it could be helpful in dealing with various folks in my life, both professionally and personally.
So I scheduled another appointment and cancelled with the other lady for next week and am looking forward to being able to share openly without breaking confidentiality and for some added perspective on my work and my life.
Here's to balance and good mental health!