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Have you ever been to therapy? If so, how was your experience? If not, why not?

In this blog post I will be responding to a question from my guided journal, My Trichster Diaries. Please feel free to share your answer in the comments below.


My parents instantly sprang into action once they noticed my missing eyebrows and because of that I have very limited memories of existing with trichotillomania without having already gone to or was actively seeing a therapist. Due to the nature of trichotillomania, you know, it being under researched and vastly misunderstood, it took a while for me to find a therapist I felt comfortable with. If I had to count the number of therapists I have seen throughout my life it would definitely be in the double digits.


One of the best experiences I have had with therapy was when I saw a therapist named Gretchen. Fun fact: I asked Gretchen's permission before writing about her in my book, The Trichster Diaries! I mostly saw her when I was a child and she had such a positive impact on me! I credit her to my general openness and willingness toward therapy. I imagine if my first remembered experience was negative, I probably never would've tried therapy again! I was lucky to have seen her.


Some of the things I remember during our time together was her kindness and gentleness. I genuinely liked going there! We did activities together—one that stands out is us cutting up magazines to make collages which I really enjoyed but we also talked about my trichotillomania in a way that felt safe and resembled a natural conversation.


Of course, not every therapist is like Gretchen so I've had more experiences that weren't as great. They were actually pretty awful.


My first official relapse was when I was in 11th grade so 16-17 years old. I was able to see Gretchen once more but because of the combination of insurance providers and her moving to a practice that was quite far from my house, I had to look elsewhere for help. Many of the new therapists were unsure what trichotillomania was, even though my mom had called in advance to make sure they had an understanding and could help me. I spent first session after first session explaining the disorder to them just to never go back! That sucked!


It also sucked for my mom who had to continuously look for someone new, call our insurance to make sure they covered the practice, call the practice to see if they had someone who could help me, make an appointment, drive me there, pay. Over and over again.


One therapist in particular annoyed me because he, like many others, was said to have knowledge about trichotillomania but didn't, and after I spent time explaining the disorder and my experience with it, he proceeded to ask, "At this current moment, do you see bugs crawling on the walls?"


A different therapist lost my file and was searching through one of the many stacks on her desk before saying, "So what are you here for again?"


Eventually I was able to find a therapist that I wanted to see for more than just the initial session. She was no Gretchen but she was fine.


Although I've had what some could say was a kind of rocky experience with therapy, I will never count it out as a great resource. I have learned amazing strategies from therapists. I know one I would call right this second if I felt I needed her! She rules!


I also know I'm not the only one to have an experience like this. It makes my heart explode with joy seeing so many others in the BFRB community becoming therapists or peer coaches! Now others won't spend session after session explaining their BFRB, they will be seeing someone who has one too. What is more beautiful than that?


To learn more about HabitAware's Virtual Peer Coaching and/or to work with me, please visit: habitaware.com/coaching today. Use code LALLYLOVE to receive 10% off.


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