Thoughts on first appointments with a therapist.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a number of people tell me that they had made their first appointment with a therapist. They told me because they didn’t feel safe telling their family. Let that sink in for a minute.

A complete stranger was safer than their family.

Are you one of those family members? I know you don’t mean to be, but it’s easy to slip and make people feel like depression or anxiety or a host of other mental health issues are a weakness. They aren’t. Don’t tell someone to tough it out, or “man up,” or to get their act together.

You think they want to be in this state? No. So support them in getting the help they need.

And if you do have family like this? I just want to tell you that am proud of you for taking care of yourself. You are awesome. Get the help you need and don’t let anyone shame you for seeing a therapist. You wouldn’t try to heal a broken arm on your own and the mind is a helluva lot trickier.

Oh. Here. I made this for you.

Did you know you can support Mary on Patreon!

7 Responses

  1. Greg

    Also, keep in kind that therapists are fallible humans. The first one you pick might not be the right one for you. If it isnt working, try a different therapist.

  2. Seth

    “A complete stranger was safer than their family.”

    This seems completely natural to me, if only because you can’t get away from your family. If you make a mistake, they’ll still be around, and they won’t let you forget.

    I’ve been told that my experiences are atypical.

    A more important question, I think, is how can you tell if a therapist is not working for you? What signs should you look for? Alternately, what signs tell you that a therapist is working for you?

    1. Mary Robinette Kowal Post author

      I’m not suggesting that they should speak to me about their issues, but the fact that keeping the fact that they were seeing a therapist a secret from their family is… Well. Seeing a therapist isn’t a mistake. If your family treats you like it is, that’s a problem.

  3. Interrobang

    I’d rather talk about issues with a therapist than with my family, because my family and I don’t see eye to eye on various issues, and they still blame me for a lot of things that happened in the past that weren’t totally my fault, so, frankly, I don’t trust them with a lot of important issues. I think a lot of people have family issues like this. (Note: This refers to my parents, since I’m single and have no children.) I mean, we nominally get along, but there are things we just don’t talk about. Ever.

    I’ve never been able to find a compatible therapist, though, so I mostly talk to trusted friends.

    1. Mary Robinette Kowal Post author

      I’m not suggesting that people should be comfortable talking to their entire family about their issues. There’s a great deal of value in having an outside, and trained, perspective from a therapist. My point was that feeling unsafe telling a family member that one is seeing a therapist is a fairly telling note about familial relations.

%d bloggers like this: