Have you ever felt sick or got injured and didn't think twice about seeing a doctor? Sure there are times when we may twist an arm too far, or endure a deep cut and just 'tough it out' and avoid medical care. But few people would even hesitate for a second to seek urgent help from a doctor if they felt their physical health was in grave risk, or sustained a more serious injury.
Counseling and psyhotherapy should be treated with the same degree of seriousness, if not even more. What meaning does life have if everything you are inside is smothered by an unbearable burden of oppression? A mountain climber who takes a fall and breaks his leg will be back up again. His injury came as a result of living the life he has dreamed of. He was embracing life, living it to its fullest, and sustained an injury requiring medical attention. In no time, he will be back climbing mountains. Compare his broken leg to someone else who lives under the huge weight of immeasurable depression. The individual suffering the emotional pain is not embracing life. His injury is one of the heart, and of the mind. He will not be "back up again' in no time. He will not return in a few months to living his dream. His life is utterly void of purpose, joy, and meaning. So tell me, dear reader, who's injury is indeed more serious?
We run to the doctor for a broken leg. But we often balk or shy away from a therapist when our lives are oppressed, yet in the example above, it is clear that often times emotional injuries and pain can be far worse than physical ones, and our need to seek help from a professional counselor or therapist is just as dire as if it we were to fall and break an arm or a rib.
Washington DC has a number of therapy solutions to choose from. If you found ths site on Google, you may be wondering where to being. Well here are some good starting points on choosing a therapist:
#1. Don't just grab any therapist from a directory or random maps listing! You probably saw dozens of therapists listed in a "map" listing on the top of your search engine page. They are in the Washington DC map area. DC Counselors are not always good counselors. Not all therapists in Washington DC are alike. Don't put your life in the hands of a random therapist. It is important to interview, and learn about that therapist, before you decide to commit to therapy. Some therapists focus only on behavior, some like to look deep into your past, others focus on the hear and now. Some therapits address therapy by focusing on cognition, and belief systems. Take your health into your own hands, and be very choosy about who you select for counseling.
#2. Call the therapist. Most counselors will give you an intial consultation. This is a time where YOU can evaluate them. Remember you are in control, do not submit to therapy unless you feel that this is a person who can truly help you.
#3. Avoid wolves in sheep's clothing. It is a sad truth that in the world of Therapy there is a whole "sub culture" of so-called therapists who give the rest a bad name. These are people who are more like new age-spiritualists, rather than medical mental health professionals. They focus on eastern mysticism, eating Goji berries, praying to the inner child, chanting spiritual chants, and a bunch of other nonsense under the guise of counseling and therapy. This, of course, has no basis whatsoever in the world of sound and researched psychology. I call these people "lay-counselors" because they have no idea what psychology is. Most of them probably don't even know the definition of a "control group" and probably couldn't even describe the philosophy of CBT. Some directories will tell you that "all of our counselors are fully credentialed, and they are the best!", blah blah. Yet if you look inside the directory, you will find several counselors who are practitioners of off-the-wall mysticism that has absolutely nothing to do with valid psychological theory. The best comparison is to compare a PhD Cardiologist here in Washington DC with 20 years of experience and hundreds of open heart surgeries under his belt giving you advice and treatment for a heart condition...to a shaman who has some roots and berries and tells you "eat these berries, and you will be healed!". Its pretty obvious which one I would choose! Avoid at all costs "therapists" who are nothing more than shamans disguised as counselors. Only choose verified, professionally trained and legitimate psychotherapists. Just because someone is on a directory, means nothing. The person could be a total fake, having no therapeutic basis in sound science.
I did come accross this helpful resource the other day. This may be one place to start if you are seeking help for issues relating to individual or family counseling in the DC metro area. What impressed me about them is their commitment to values, which is something I believe therapists need more of. Make sure you call, however, any therapists you may choose to see. I also found this resource for DC therapists, however I found it extremely non-user friendly. While there are a lot of therapists to choose from, it was pretty ugly getting there!
I liked the International Counseling Center of Washington DC. They are local to the DC area and focus on helping people who are either from another culture or in a relationship with someone from another culture. This is a fabulous area of focus, and probably worth a call if anyone of you find yourself in a similar situation.