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Connecting with your therapist

The COVID-19 shutdown disrupted our lives in numerous ways. It upset our routines, delayed our plans and, for many of us, it changed relationships and the way we see ourselves. Some of us had to find new supports in our lives. 

My hairdresser was one I lost when she went out of business. She understood my hair so well. She listened to my needs and could do magical things with a pair of sheers and a wide-toothed comb. She made my wild, long and curly locks feel a little sophisticated. I felt more feminine leaving her salon. I connected with her, and she reconnected me with my hair. Because of her, this thick, curly mop on my head became easy to manage and a source of confidence.

The anxiety of finding someone to replace her was overwhelming. Yes, the pandemic has forced me to make some changes, but this change really touched the core of how I look at and feel about myself. Not every hairdresser knows how to cut my type of hair.

Then my therapist moved away. It took a long time to build that relationship. Replacing her would be an even bigger challenge. My therapist and I had a great connection. From the start, it felt like we could have been best playmates in grade school. She was down to earth and understood my dry sense of humor. We shared a need to surround ourselves with whimsy and positivity. I always looked forward to our sessions to hear fresh perspectives on what I was experiencing. I could be myself in her office. She and I connected, and she reconnected me with my emotions and myself.

I spent time thinking about what made her a good therapist. The last thing I wanted was to spend hour upon hour meeting mental health providers. After getting a list of counselors covered by my insurance, I began narrowing the list by looking at how clinics presented themselves to the world. Their websites told me a lot about their philosophy and how they approach mental health care. Then I began checking the counselors’ professional profiles to see if any matched my personality. Our first session was about me sharing my goals in unvarnished terms. I also shared what I did not want. I gave myself permission to thank them and leave if I wasn’t comfortable for any reason.

I finally found that therapist. We had a casual conversation during the first visit to see if we connected on a personality level and if I felt she understood me. I am confident she can give me the kind of therapy I am looking for, and it wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be using my strategy.  

Most importantly, I am feeling more confident and courageous. Because of her, my mental health has become easy to manage and a source of confidence to face the world. 

Melody Worsham is a certified peer support specialist with the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi. Reach her at

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