9 Essential Tips for Finding the Right Support for Your Personal Growth Journey
Navigating the journey of personal growth is an intricate process, requiring not only your dedication but also the guidance of a skilled professional. In my experience as a psychologist specializing in sex and relationships, I've seen many individuals face challenges in seeking the right support for their growth.
To help you on this journey, here are my top nine essential tips:
1. Seek the Right Professional:
It's vital to remember that not all therapists and coaches have expertise in sex and relationships. Even highly-qualified professionals might lack expertise and deep understanding in these areas due to inadequate training or learning. Needless to say, but our university courses and training are still in the dark ages. Therefore, ensure you seek a professional with the right expertise aligning with your unique needs.
2. Request a Discovery Call:
Once you identify professionals who resonate with your needs, and seem to have the right expertise, reach out to them and request a discovery call. These discovery calls, are typically free but not always, and provide a glimpse of the professional's approach and offer an opportunity to address your questions. It's a crucial step in identifying if you and the professional 'click'.
3. The Importance of a Good Fit:
A crucial aspect of your growth journey is your connection with the professional. If you're not clicking with them, it might be best not to pursue further, even if their qualifications and expertise appear perfect for your needs on paper.
This is because research consistently shows that the most crucial component and predictor of positive outcomes is the relationship between the client and the professional. The rapport, mutual understanding, and trust you build with your psychologist, therapist or coach can significantly impact the progress you make.
4. Don’t Underestimate Professional Guidance:
It's easy to extract a nugget of wisdom from a discovery call and think it's sufficient for a transformative journey. However, it doesn't work like that.
You've spent a lifetime constructing beliefs, behaviour patterns, and emotional frameworks. These aren't deconstructed or reshaped overnight or in isolation. Just as you can't learn to fly a plane from a manual alone, your growth journey requires the assistance of a qualified professional.
5. Know Your Expectations:
It's essential to articulate what you expect from the therapy or coaching experience. A good professional will assist in identifying what you want to achieve and what you wish to avoid. Clear communication is key.
6. Inquire About Client Caseload:
I might ruffle a few feathers among my fellow professionals with this point, but I strongly believe in being open and honest and ethical in one's approach. Some professionals carry a caseload of over 20 even 30+ clients.
Take a moment to consider - how many hours of deep, intense, emotional conversations can the average person truly handle in a week? For many, it's a mere 2 to 4 hours. Any more than this can lead to exhaustion and emotional burnout. Now imagine a professional engaging in 25, 30, or even more hours of such conversations each week. This doesn't even factor in the emotionally charged conversations they'll be having in their personal lives.
Emotional burnout among psychologists, therapists, and coaches is a real and pressing issue. A quick Google search will show you that many NHS mental health professionals are going through their own mental health crises - mainly because of being overloaded.
For these reasons, I believe it's worth investing in a professional who manages a smaller caseload. This allows them to work fewer contact hours and thus be able to be fully present with you and devote their full energy and attention to your sessions.
Remember, the level of care you receive often corresponds to what you're willing to invest. Don't underestimate the value of a professional who is truly present and focused on you, rather than zoning out and struggling to be effective, and to hold space for you because they're exhausted.
7. Know When to Discontinue the Professional Relationship
This point may be tough to accept, but it's absolutely vital. If you feel there's no progress despite the sessions, or that the professional isn't providing the type of help and guidance you need, you have the right and the responsibility to address it with them. If, despite this, there's no change, it might be time to move on and find another professional.
Over the years, I've seen numerous clients come to me with added trauma and or deflated hopes after working with professionals who were not a good fit for their needs - it's genuinely heartbreaking.
Some have spent years in therapy, feeling stagnated, as if they were just offloading emotional pain week after week, without gaining a deeper understanding, learning coping strategies, or experiencing healing. Others have withheld from sharing due to fear of judgement from the professional, and yet others have felt that the professional was using a cookie-cutter strategy without tailoring their approach to the client's unique journey.
Being aware of your progress and knowing when to discontinue a professional relationship can save you from such experiences.
8. Keep Your Notes:
As you embark on your personal growth journey, you'll encounter a wealth of information, insights, and tasks that may feel overwhelming at times. To avoid losing track of all the topics, the things you want to cover, work through, remember, and integrate into your life, it's highly recommended to write your own notes. Keep a record of your thoughts, homework, ideas for your next session and more.
To support my clients, I offer a coaching platform, and also a specially tailored journal.
However, if you're not my current client, you cannot benefit from the coaching platform I offer to my clients, yet an excellent tool to assist you in this is my specially designed Growth Journey Journal which you can get from my website or Amazon.
I've created this journal after carefully considering my clients' reflections and it serves as an ultimate helper on your journey to growth. So, don't allow yourself to get lost in the sheer volume of discussions and insights - maintain your notes to keep your journey on track.
Growth Journey Journal - Paperback and e-Version
Note: The eVersion is only available on my website
9. Never Give Up on Yourself:
Searching for the right professional can be a challenging process, sometimes requiring multiple tries.
Yes, it may be expensive, but consider the alternative - persisting with unsuitable guidance, or no guidance at all. Is that truly a preferable option?
Finding the perfect match may take time and patience, but don't give up on yourself. Continue the search and remember that you are investing in the most important person - yourself. The right professional for your growth journey is out there; persevere until you find them.
Remember, the journey towards growth and self-improvement is not a sprint but a marathon. The path may seem overwhelming at times, but the right professional support can make all the difference.
If you're looking for the right professional specializing in sex and relationships, and you believe we could be a good fit, I invite you to book a discovery call.