“The depression symptoms are just so bad again,” my patient (fictional) sighed as she settled in on my couch after a six month absence. “I’m having the guilt feelings, sadness, no energy, trouble sleeping, and I’m gaining weight because of stress eating. I know you scheduled me to come in once a month for a while after we finished the Plan of Care, but I thought I was cured and didn’t need to. Can we get me back on track?”
As I listened sympathetically to her complaints, I couldn’t help but think how her pain could’ve been avoided with a simple monthly check-in session. Issues such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, relationship changes, and poor self-esteem don’t develop overnight, and don’t permanently go away that quickly either. But once change has been achieved in counseling, the progress can be maintained with follow up care. Left without this support, issues can return-and often do.
Think about it for a moment. There is no other doctor or dentist that we see once in our lives, and never again, yet we think one round of therapy can permanently keep us mentally healthy? Problems and challenges arise throughout life, just like illnesses and cavities do, to use the medical support mentioned above as an example. Having the skilled insight and support of a therapist to manage these challenges can be the difference between a prolonged struggle or a successful and quick resolution.
I encourage you to use me as a resource throughout your life, much as you do your other healthcare providers. Why struggle alone? I am here for you through your darkest times or just times that the stress feels overwhelming. Let’s maintain the progress and keep you on track!