I decided to see a therapist Summer 2019 after a few weeks of increased anxiety due to a medication side effect.
Prior to this I was an advocate for therapy for others, just not myself. I realize now that my views were influenced by my past. I mean I do listen to podcasts, I do yoga, and I journal, what could a therapist actually help me with?
I decided to go through my employee assistance program. Many work places have free therapy sessions that are rarely utilized. Make sure you get familiar with your work and the many benefits they have. If they have a free therapy program I highly recommend you go, even if it is only for minor frustrations. For larger items or long term therapy they may refer you out, but it is a start.
Since I already had the appointment scheduled I decided to go. It was for lack of a better word therapeutic. I got to explore my anxiety and past trauma in a safe environment as well as learning how to work on perfectionism and self criticism.
My favorite part of my sessions were the books she recommended to me. As I am an avid reader she recognized the books were the best teachers for me throughout the week in between therapy sessions.
As a side note I did end up getting the kindle versions and using a separate notebook for notes, GoodNotes is a great option for the iPad and Apple Pen for digital journaling. I did this for 2 reasons; less clutter, and the ability to go back and resuse the books without past influences. Books Recommended by my Therapist:
- The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in Healing the Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk MD : This one was a really interesting read because it talks about the way your body works through trauma and how is processes it. It also goes into each therapy process and the benefits of each. It has very graphic stories so it is not recommended if you have not worked through your trauma or are triggered by other people’s trauma.
- The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene’ Brown : This helps put into perspective why people struggling with being perfect and how to start embracing yourself.
- Self Therapy Workbook: An Exercise Book for IFS Process by Bonnie J. Weiss LCSW: I really liked this one because it expands on the Internal Family Systems process and is a way to work though your trauma and embrace all parts of yourself.
- Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind the Frantic for Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist: One of my all time favorite books because it helps you work through your perfectionism through spirituality and self worth.
- The Mindful Self Compassion Workbook: A Proven Way to Accept Yourself, Build Inner Strength, and Thrive by Kristin Neff and Chistopher Germer: My new favorite tool as it shows you exactly how we speak to ourselves and how to start showing yourself compassion.
Each book helped me on my Therapy journey and I highly recommend you reading them if you have any past trauma you are working on and/or perfection and/or self compassion issues. It is recommended that you work on them with a therapist, but I think some of them can be done on your own.
I am nearing the end of my therapy sessions and I feel like a completely different person. I no longer have nightmares with the same theme, my anxiety is getting better, and I am setting boundaries with others. Therapy has taught me how to manage new things that come up and be more mindful. I am grateful that I utilized this resource and look forward to using the tools that each book has shown me.
If you happen to have any book suggestions as always be sure to share.