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Vintage Vicki: 10 Things That Stop People From Getting Help

Ms. Vicki

Dear Readers,

Should you see a therapist? During our lifetime, each of us will ask if we should see a therapist. My readers write in with many different triggers, such as:

  • My husband was diagnosed with PTSD but he refuses to speak to a therapist because he is ashamed that it will make him look weak.
  • Depression has taken over my life.
  • How can I stop my anxiety and panic attacks?
  • Why do I keep choosing the same men in relationships who hurt me?
  • I can never make progress. Each time I try to move forward, I end up right back where I started.

No matter your current trigger, I think it is important to think through these 10 ideas that can stop you from getting the help you need:

1. You rewind and repeat endlesslessly. I loved that my old cassette tape player could play my favorite songs over and over again. Repeating the song also helped me learn the lyrics. Just press the buttons: stop, rewind and play. I would hear the same song, the same music and the same lyrics over and over again.

You may need therapy because you are like an old cassette tape recorder. You keep pressing stop, rewind and play. You never seem to learn how you end up in the same situation. You repeat the same behavior over and over again and you expect a different outcome. It’s time for a change.

2. You are an emotional hoarder. Hoarding is an emotional condition described as an inability to throw away any items. You may be like that about relationships or emotions that are bad for you.

You may have an abundance of emotions that you don’t need or want, but you can’t get rid of them. These feelings are in your closets, your basement and your attic: anger, sadness, heartaches, disappointments, worthlessness, grief and loss. A therapist could help you evict these intruders.

3. You think therapy will be embarrassing. Clients often say, “Ms. Vicki, I was embarrassed to make the appointment for an office visit with you.”

An embarrassing situation is when you are giving an important presentation and you realize you have tissue paper stuck to your shoe or afterward you realize you had salad greens stuck between your teeth.

Visiting with a therapist shouldn’t be embarrassing. This is a brave step toward personal growth.

4. You don’t want to be on blast. It’s normal for you to think that by going to therapy you are blasting your business to the world with a bullhorn.

If you are a private person and you don’t want everyone to know you are seeing a therapist, you can keep your privacy. The therapist is mandated to explain levels of confidentiality to you.

5. You think therapists are all weird. I have heard people say they thought their therapist was weird so they stopped going. Other people have told me things like: I didn’t have a connection with the therapist. He/she didn’t understand me. They lacked empathy.

I also have heard that some therapists have made unhelpful and inappropriate remarks to them. Don’t give up! Keep searching for the right therapist.

6. You don’t know about the blind taste test. You don’t have to sample therapists like you are doing a blind taste test. Save time by doing research on their specialty and ask how long they have been practicing.

Tricare and Military OneSource and other insurance providers can help you find the right therapist for you. This person could be a psychologist, a clinical social worker, a licensed professional counselor, or a marriage and family therapist.

7. You are hiding the Blooming Onion. Your surface problems are only the tip of the iceberg. You feel lonely, isolated and alone.

You are unique, but you are not the only one with these particular concerns. You need a therapist to help you peel back the layers of your blooming onion. You are stuck, but you can find freedom.

8. You are a quick fix junkie. Who has time for therapy? We have microwave mentality. Everyone wants a quick fix.

Don’t rush the therapeutic process. Instead, trust the process. My grandmother always said “beauty takes time.” You may not feel better overnight, but you should soon start feeling better overall.

9. You think if you give a dance you have to pay the band. Don’t let the cost of therapy sessions deter you from treatment. Some people choose to pay out of pocket for sessions, feeling they can remain more anonymous by not reporting information to their insurance company, while others will use their health care benefits to help with payments.

10. You are unraveling at the edge of a cliff. Remember, emotional problems that leave you stressed and unable to cope can get worse. Depression and anxiety etc. can cause you to unravel and spiral downward if you don’t seek the help of a professional therapist.

I have seen therapy change people’s lives, repair broken marriages, help people sleep. Don’t let the complications of the therapeutic process stop you from getting the help you need.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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