Free Black Therapy and my first time going to therapy
What I learned from expressive arts therapy
In all the time I’d interviewed psychologists and psychiatrists, it never occurred to me to actually go to therapy. I started off interviewing them for a CBS Chicago series on continuing education. Then I interviewed quite a few for various graduate-level programs. I’ve never been opposed to therapy. But when I’m having a problem, I go straight to my journals or call my mother. And the only time my journal trumps my mother is when I’m writing about an argument with my mother. Other than that, she hears it all.
Although I’m still careful about what I will and won’t share in online platforms, I do find myself searching out topics that are close to what I’m feeling at the time. However, I am an Old Millennial, so I don’t quite comprehend the logic of sharing my day-to-day on social media. (By Old Millennial, I mean I can immediately mimic the sound of AOL dial-up and felt a way when I was demoted in someone’s MySpace Top 8.) So social media isn’t my avenue to send subliminal tweets and rant all day long. (I do have my Medium gripe moments, but even then, it’s written with the goal of a “lesson learned” as opposed to airing someone out for fun.)
Somehow though, therapy just never intrigued me enough to go. I’d listened to enough minority psychologists to understand the hardships that black people and people of color went through when it came to finding mental health professionals who fully understood what they were going through. I’d even heard from mental health professionals who found that patients who looked like them refused to make appointments with people of similar cultures, religions and races. Why? They felt like they’d be double-judged because that mental health professional would know them a little too well.
However, I was particularly curious about an expressive therapy course and wanted to know why it was different from other kinds of therapy. So with my boss on vacation and the higher-ups giving me the thumbs up, off I went.