This week I started seeing a new Psychologist.
This came following a somewhat traumatic split from my last Psychologist, Andre. I had been seeing Andre for years and we had an amazing connection. He had opened up so many doors for me and made me believe I deserved to be happy. So when he said to me he was moving practices to a 50 minute drive from where I live…. I told him I could make it work. I really wanted to keep the relationship going. I was naive. The truth of the matter is I don’t even drive so the process of getting to his new practice was actually going to take me more like an hour and a half. That would mean that with our appointment and travel, I would spend four hours in total dedicated to getting treatment. He used to be within walking distance from my house.
I realised too late that it just wasn’t going to work. I booked my appointment for after his Christmas break without hesitation. But as the date loomed I was filled with a sense of dread. I had to accept that as much as I wanted it to work, I just couldn’t go the extra mile. I sent a heart breaking email thanking Andre for everything he had done for me and apologising for the inconvenience. I felt terrible. Like I was breaking up with someone or ending a long term friendship. The most upsetting part of it was that there was no discernible reason for my moving on other than his change in practice. Our relationship was not stale, it hadn’t soured and I still found him an exceptionally helpful force in my life. It was very hard to say goodbye. And I deeply regret not getting to do it in person.
I went to my GP and got a referral for a new Psychologist. I expressed an interest in seeing a male as that was my preference. When I left my GP’s office I burst into tears. I cried all the way home. I just couldn’t believe that my relationship with Andre was over. I kept thinking that no one else would be able to understand me like he did. I also dreaded the idea of starting fresh with someone. Andre knew all my skeletons. He was the first person I ever told about being sexually abused, bar my partner. It was a big deal. I hated the idea of having to dig up all that stuff with a perfect stranger. Mine and Andre’s relationship was comfortable and I did not want to feel uncomfortable in my future Psychologist’s office.
Unfortunately, the male Psychologist I was referred to was booked out for the next four monthes. So his practice referred me to Emily. I had my reservations. Obviously my GP referred me to the head of the practice for a reason. I didn’t like the idea of getting his sloppy seconds. I also had this idea that the fact he was booked out for so long probably indicated he was a lot better than the person who was ready to see me immediately. And as much as I hated to admit it, I had issues with seeing a woman. I had a really bad experience with a female school counsellor as a teenager, before I started seeking treatment outside of school, and that sort of prejudiced me against female therapists. I’m not proud to say that, especially as I hope to be a female therapist myself one day, but that was just one of my issues. And I had seen males ever since that experience so it also came down to that just being what I was used to.
As I sat in the waiting room of Emily’s practice, my heart was racing. My palms were sweating. I kept staring at the receptionist, hoping for a sympathetic smile, but got nothing. My mind was racing at a million miles a minute. I cracked my knuckles restlessly and kept shifting in my seat. The receptionist left to give my new Psychologist the results of my Psychological Assessments and I listed eagerly for her voice in the other room, trying to get a sense of who she was, wondering what awaited me on the other side of that door. And then suddenly she was there. Emily walked out with a radiant smile and shook my hand and I immediately felt safe with her. I couldn’t believe the wave of relief that floated over me when she looked at me. It felt like I already knew her.
What I liked most about my first session was that she genuinly respected my own expertise about my condition. She asked me about what therapies I liked and didn’t like and why and what I had loved most about my time with Andre. I really enjoyed that she didn’t come in trying to reinvent the wheel. She wanted to know what I thought worked for me and help me along the way.
Even though the way it happened was traumatic, I am extremely happy to have my new Psychologist, Emily. I already feel so comfortable with her and I am excited for what we can achieve in the future. I think the most important thing when seeing a new therapist is keeping an open mind. Despite my anxieties and reservations, I went into seeing Emily hoping she would be able to help me. I reminded myself not to compare her to Andre and just trust the process. If it didn’t work, that was okay. But I’m really glad that it has.