Questions to Ask When Looking For a Therapist 

I’m not sure if anyone has really noticed, but I’ve been pretty absent for a while now. I’ve been going through a rough patch, and honestly haven’t had the motivation to put myself out there much. However, I am strong and I have a lot of great support.

I have been working with a therapist, which I think I mentioned before. I was so nervous and intimidated about how to go about finding the right one. I started by checking out who was covered by my insurance, because that just made sense. I knew I wanted to see a woman, so that helped narrow it further. Then I looked at who was conveniently located, and who had availability after work. The last thing I needed was to take time off work once a week!

I also asked my awesome friend, who is a therapist herself, for some advice on how to choose. She gave me these GREAT questions to ask both the therapists I talked to and myself. My favorite part is that she also gave possible “right” answers to the questions. I wanted to share, just in case anyone else is considering therapy, and she gave me her permission.

For me, the first step of looking and calling was the very hardest. I’m not great at talking and honestly still dread going most weeks, but I always feel better after my sessions.

??????? For the therapist 

What theories/frameworks do you use? Why those theories and not others? (You’re looking for why they think it’s effective, not what they personally like.)

While researching about this, I found that there are so many new techniques and ideas. How do you stay abreast of all this knowledge (looking for “attending training, conferences, reading”)

What role do you think medication plays in mental health? (You’re looking for an answer like “it depends”. Some psychiatrists think “non-compliance” to medication regimens is tantamount to revolt)

I know everyone is different, but what is the time-range for this therapy to show effectiveness?

Have you treated anyone with issues similar to mine? What was the outcome? What ingredients were the cause of that success/failure? How will we measure progress?

What’s expected from me? (For instance, are there homework assignments?)

When do you start thinking about termination (ending the relationship), and what will that look like? (e.g. will it be a shared decision, is there a set number of visits and then review, etc)

??????? For you 

Did you feel heard by the therapist?

Did you feel like the therapist respected you?

Was the therapist condescending?

Did the therapist seem like a real person, or were they playing a role?

Was the therapist passive or active in the session? What do you like better?

Does it seem like the therapist will be open to hearing about all your feelings, including frustrated feelings relating to them?

Did the therapist have a positive outlook on life?

Did you feel better or worse after the session?

Did you feel comfortable with the therapist?

Does this seem like a safe place to express your thoughts, concerns, and feelings?

I didn’t ask all of these questions, but even thinking about them helped me realize more about what I was looking for. Good luck in your journey!

Jillian

Simplify Sunday-Yoga Edition

work out areaWhen I look at My 35 Project, I see one area where I need a lot of improvement. I haven’t done yoga even once! Yikes.

Obviously, I had to look at why. Doing something once a week should not be hard. What is standing in my way?

It’s hard for me to work out at home, and it’s hard for me to spend $15 on one yoga class. That’s what it is. It’s also hard for me to spend time doing yoga, when I have a mind block that says it’s more important to do weights or cardio.

My actual belief is that all three are important. Yoga helps me with balance, physically and mentally. It helps me connect my mind to my body.

So, here’s what I did! I made a space where I have a reminder every day to just think about it, if not to try a few poses.

yoga posesI don’t know yoga well enough to make it up as I go along, so I got this cool poster off Amazon!

I just used it, and while the pictures are small (this was the best one I could find), it was really helpful! I’m excited about this new idea, and that I got my first yoga session in.

Silly as the small victory may sound… It’s a big deal for me to pinpoint what’s standing in my way and then actually do something about it. 

Have you had any small victories lately?

💛 Jillian 

Weigh In Wednesday- Starting Over

ugh This is my “I know how ridiculous I am, I just don’t know what to do about it- so sue me” face.

I have no motivation to lose weight. Last week I pre-empted Weigh In Wednesday for the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge. I wasn’t exactly sad, as I had no real update.

What I do have, is buckets of body shaming that I pour upon myself.

Here is the only step I can truly say I have taken and kept up on the last few weeks- walking more. I have a fitbit, and I have been getting more motivated to step it up 🙂 Anyone else who has a fitbit should let me know so we can compete!

Riley got out of the house the other day and I had to run after her. I absolutely could not hack it. I am so out of shape. I never got the personal trainer that I swore I needed, but I did research it last night.

The community center that is half a mile from my house offers six sessions for $210! I am definitely calling today on my lunch break, and I will post an update once I do- since I clearly can’t get myself together!

I know that is the first step and I’m so mad at myself for not taking it. Today is the day that I will stop apologizing and start doing.

Jillian

My First Interview- by Sami!

interview picWhen Sami from Flowers and Wanderlust asked me if I would be interested in being interviewed for her blog’s interview series, I was shocked and honored to be asked. I was also a little nervous about what she would be asking me… and let me tell you, she didn’t hold back!

If you are interested in seeing what kind of questions Sami likes to ask, and learning more about me, you should check out her interview with me here!

An excerpt:

What is your idea of a perfect day?
Do I have to stick to a certain rating for this? I love to sleep in, so I would start with that. I would round out what was left of the morning with sex, walking the dogs, and brunch. The afternoon would involve an outdoor yoga class or hike, happy hour with friends, then maybe a relaxed night out. Most of the time I’m just craving down time. It’s funny how answering questions like this makes me realize that my dreams are not far-fetched. I can make these things happen, and should.

Nope, there is no ratings on my interviews. I like the blunt honesty. You pretty much pinned the most perfect day and I would love for a Saturday to go just like that. Sometimes it’s so easily attained, we just lose sight of such because of how busy we get. We forget to take breaks for ourselves and realize our “dreams” are right there in front of us.

Do any of you do interviews for your blog? What do you think? Was I too crazy with my answers? 😉

Jillian

Childfree or Childless?

jillian and baby aI do understand this is a simple manner of semantics to some people, but language is a big deal. Maybe this is why I’m a blogger, but words really do speak to me. That’s how you get into my heart and soul- really talk to me, know what you’re doing with your words.

I have mentioned before that I am making a big effort to be more positive. My aunt is a firm believer in the power of words and thoughts, and I’ve kind of pushed that aside for too long. I now believe that it’s true. If I think positive thoughts, it only puts me in a better frame of mind and helps me make more positive decisions. If I think negative thoughts, I am dwelling on things that are upsetting me and bringing myself down.

Part of my 35 Project is deciding whether or not I want to try to have a baby. I know that just making the decision to try won’t make it happen, but that doesn’t make the decision any easier. It’s not something that either of us went into marriage wanting, but now time is ticking and I just want a baby!! The baby I’m holding above is my sweet baby A- one of the loves of my life (I pretend he’s my nephew, but we’re not actually related) 🙂 He made a huge difference to me in wanting a baby. Watching him grow has been incredible. Everything is an amazing discovery for him, and the honesty and brilliance of his innocent is beautiful.

I want the experience of watching my child grow, learn, and become an adult. That part of me feels “childless”, as if there is something missing. However, I do worry about a multitude of things. Will I be the right kind of parent? Is everything that I am, enough? Can I stand not sleeping for, oh, I don’t know, the REST OF MY LIFE? Will our marriage be strong enough to deal with a baby? Will I be able to keep working? If I can’t keep working, will we go broke?

When I think of all of the worries, I feel like maybe I am actually “childfree”. Perhaps I am meant to enjoy my time with nieces and nephews, my husband, friends, our dogs. Maybe I should put money into helping others that are already here, instead of the hundreds of thousands that I would put into one more child on this planet.

Does anyone have any feedback for me? PLEASE help me, anything helps! If anyone wants to tell me something anonymously, please email me at howtobejillian at gmail dot com. I can either post it for you anonymously, or just keep it to myself. I would love honest opinions on if you have children and would do it again, if you wouldn’t do it again, if you regret not having children, if you love your childfree life…

Jillian

Finding Beauty in Things That Suck

sunriseI really dislike commuting, it just feels like an epic waste of time. However, then there is this view. I snapped this a few days ago on my morning commute (yes, I’m an irresponsible driver, but some opportunities you just can’t pass up!). The sunrise makes me so happy. I couldn’t exactly stop and take more pictures, but I can also see a mountain out there further to the right. It is epic.

There is nearly always an upside (I’m sorry, but I am just not advanced enough to see it in *everything*), and I am working hard to see it. For example, I wish I wouldn’t think that I hate commuting. I actually am really happy about the fact that since we moved over the summer, I have been able to shave 20 minutes EACH WAY off of my commute. We’re now close enough that I can go home at lunch to let my puppy outside. I also get to enjoy views like this, and when I can pull my mind away from the insanity of drivers around me (like that irresponsible driver taking pictures of the sunrise 😉 ), I actually have 20 minutes or so of peace to think about how I want to live my day. Part of seeking minimalism for me is to minimize the mental space that I give to stress, pessimism, and negativity. This is a huge stretch for me. Those that know me well probably have a lot to say about that, but in my mind I have made progress.

The more I try to banish negativity, the more I notice these things:

  • many of my negative statements to others are based on insecurity. I want to insult myself before someone else can. At my personal training appointment, I kept saying negative things about myself to my trainer. She scolded me for it and it sucked, I wanted to cry because I already felt so bad. But why was I doing it? Because I didn’t like how I looked or how I was doing, and I thought she felt the same way. I doubt she even cared.
  • people that say negative things to me often seem to be worried that I am judging their choices, or worried that I am missing out on something. For example, those who are overly critical of my vegetarianism are usually eating meat. I haven’t said a word about it (I don’t care what they’re eating), but they are still defensive. I also get many negative comments about how I don’t have children. They upset me for many reasons, but I am working on seeing this negativity as loving concern. If I can see that harsh comments are not necessarily about people not liking me, it helps me because I have less anxiety.
  • negative thinking destroys me. No good ever comes of it, and nothing bad ever comes from seeing myself and the world around me in a positive light. If I want to be happy, I need to love myself before I expect other people to.

I don’t enjoy doing laundry or making the bed, but I focus on how good it will feel to crawl into those soft, fresh sheets. An argument makes me anxious and hurt, but talking things out in a constructive manner brings people closer together.

I will admit, the harder stuff- death, illness, etc,- I’m just not there yet. But maybe someday I will be. For now, dealing with the smaller stuff is really tough for me, so I have to master it a little at a time.

Has anyone else tried to minimize negativity? Did it work?

Jillian