Going to the therapist does not mean you’re weak or a basket case, and it does not mean that you’re on the way to the loony bin wearing a nicely fitted white jacket. Therapy is an important step in the healing process and is a step to freedom from pornography, addiction and other sexual struggles.
It’s not for the weak; it’s hard to open up to someone about struggles that are so personal and usually private – especially if you are talking to a stranger. Seeking counseling is hard for anybody, but it helps. If you want a change in lifestyle, the road to healing is a process that needs to be worked through.
I can speak from experience that it truly helps, and therapy has played a big part in my road to recovery. In the past I’ve had counselors that stunk -- they were loving, had a good heart and intentions to help but they didn’t really know how to give me the help I actually needed. Unfortunately, it proved damaging and more frustrating for me because I was walking through the steps with no progress. It wasn’t until I heard a broadcast by Dr. Juli Slattery and Joann Condie that I realized what I was missing in a therapist.
Here are some of the key things that I found that I was missing in a counselor… So, take note that not every counselor is the same. There are a few important things that need to be taken into account when looking for a counselor.
1. Not every therapist is the same; make sure to get one that deals with addiction, pornography, or sexual abuse --depending on what you’re struggling with. It’s best to get someone who specializes in your specific area of struggle. You wouldn’t go to a dentist if you had a brain tumor, just because it was “close enough” and “they are both doctors.” Speaking from experience, sexual addiction and even abuse are hard things to treat and if they don’t know how to properly treat or help you then it will end in lack of progress and frustration on both your parts.
2. Get a counselor that will fit you that you can be comfortable with-- someone you can be open with. It can be discouraging otherwise. It won’t help anyone if you are not willing to be open and if you refuse to share everything with that person; you are just wasting money.
3. God made us to be body, mind, and spirit. It is important to find someone who’s treating all aspects of these-- not just one aspect, because it all ties in together.
4. Another important thing to look for is to make sure your counselor has the same beliefs as you. If you’re a Christian, and you can help it, don’t go to someone who isn’t a Christian. I found it extremely hard to get help while trying to defend my beliefs. However, sometimes having a Christian therapist is not an option, and you may be able to get someone who is better trained outside the Christian community. So the best thing I can say is use discretion; every situation is different.
Good Things To Know When Considering Therapy
While friends and church family can be good support, they are not enough to fight your battle with pornography, masturbation or sexual abuse. You should also research articles concerning these subjects-- you can learn a lot and it helps to have someone else’s perspective to see if there are dots that you aren’t connecting. It helps to have an outside person with a fresh point of view give light to your struggles. Also, since most people who write articles have experience with these issues, they can know the best way how to help you. They will be able to walk with you step by step as you fight this battle.
Also, seeking professional help can seem discouraging and really hard whether the counselor is a good fit or not. It’s a hard transition, but be willing to give it some time and a good hard try!
Healing is a process. Healing is hard but persevere – stick it out, push through and give it a hard try and be willing and okay to change counselors if they are not a good fit.
Be prepared and open your mind and heart to hear hard truths.
But do know that you are not beyond help.
While therapy helps us heal and is a way to freedom from sexual struggles, the One who is the ultimate Healer is Christ. In Him we find complete freedom from our sinful desires, and He is the one who gives life to us who feel dead inside. For Christ has paid the price that must be paid because of our sin; so that we may live life to the fullest and escape eternal judgment and torture.
I want to leave you with this quote from the apostle Paul –
“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. . . Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Ephesians 7:19,201,24,25)