I did not do any research beforehand and just googled any psychologist and just went because of stress, weight gain and a feeling of adulthood that is shitty. I also went because I felt the need to talk to a third person who didn’t know me at all and who would give me an objective and emotionless advice to any situation I’ll provide.
To be honest, I also went because I was curious about psychologists and their role as I thought that you should have a specific problem to go see one. My only experience and knowledge is the stereotyped movie scenes with the sofa and the psychologist talking, taking notes and fixing the problem. Turns out that you can go see one even if it is just to discuss childhood events, questions about the behavior, arguments with friends or partners… And actually their job is not to provide a solution or to fix your problems, they are merely there to guide and offer a new perspective of a situation.
I stayed 6 months in therapy with this psychologist and I ended-up stopping it all at once due to different factors. Money was a heavy one as every session was 60 euros and was 1 hour long and the guy was really strict about it. What I didn’t know at that time is that psychology has many schools of thought and you should look for the one that matches your vibe and style. This guy was mostly working with hypnosis, calm approach and massages and discussions that were mostly written down. I never felt comfortable with that as I felt evaluated during my talks and it annoyed me to never know what he was writing on that fucking paper. I never did the hypnosis or massage thing as I do not believe in it as a scientist at heart, for me it was just « Bullshit », and I kinda told him that as psychologists are supposed to work with honesty. He was mostly amused by my harsh feelings 😀 And kinda used to it as psychology and therapy are still not openly accepted by society regardless of the country.
The thing that annoyed me also is the fact that I had to explain any potential link to my ethnicity or any link to my origins or society as I am not Belgian and the psychologist is. And its important to acknowledge the heavy impact that these cultural and social differences have on our respective views of life. I noticed that I was wasting many sessions trying to explain the Moroccan/African society or link between the link between the religion,society and life as a woman that should have been a given to anybody with the same background. It’s also not easy to discuss about the identity with someone that will never understand it and can just suggest a mild comprehension or nice words to a deeper issue.
Don’t get me wrong, the psychologist helped me gain understanding on some aspects of life nonetheless after a few months, the disparity between my expectations from therapy and what was offered to me was too big a gap to avoid. It also did not help the fact that he was a white man and could not understand my issues as a woman from Morocco in the professional and personal world in Europe.
Upon discussing these points with a friend of mine, ironically she is a psychologist, she heavily suggested me to go see a Psychological anthropologist (Ethnologue in french): Its a psychologist that is linked to ethnicity and uses the knowledge of a society culture to help the person. Its actually what I needed as during the first session, she was able to quickly grasp the complexity of some situations and understand everything. Furthermore I actually looked for a Psychological anthropologist that has a systemic approach: They basically see the world as systems and heavily study the systems and environments of the individual, and it makes sense for somebody like me as it was a rational approach and what she said made sense.
Therefore, in case you consider talking to a psychologist or going into therapy, I would advice you to decide if you’d be more comfortable talking to a man or a woman. It’s important as you need to be at ease telling this person anything that is in your brain or any situation that you would like to discuss. Also, don’t wait until you have a problem or something, it’s always good to check-up on the health of your brain and your emotions, as we tend to forget to take care of our mind as much as of our body.
If you are in Brussels, let me know if you are interested, I can give you the contact of the psychologist 🙂