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    by Yvonne Leung October 27, 2021

    I wrote about therapy October of last year but I wanted to expand on that original post since therapy has changed my life and that of my family. The Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh teaches,“In order to heal others, we first need to heal ourselves. And to heal ourselves, we need to know how to deal with ourselves.”With this perspective, self understanding can be one of the ways in which we bring joy to this world. But, I didn’t always see it this way.

    Growing up, I don’t know if I knew what a therapist was or the point of having one. My parents were frugal immigrants and the idea of spending hard-earned money to talk to a stranger about your problems was foreign to them on so many levels. In my late 20’s, I saw a relationship therapist once or twice. That was my first exposure to therapy. 

    Fast forward. With another relationship on the rocks, I contemplated going to therapy solo. I had always had problems in my intimate relationships and really struggled to comprehendwhy. A therapist seemed like a person that might be able to help. After a couple false starts and a lot of procrastination, I committed to investing in regular therapy. 

    Long after that rocky relationship ended (twice), I’m still seeing my therapist and reaping the benefits. It’s now been years since I’ve been going weekly. It’s amazing to me what therapy has helped me to uncover and process. My therapist acts as a mirror of sorts.She helps me to see things in myself that I’m not sure if or when I would have discovered on my own. 

    Understanding is the key to my freedom and has helped me to thrive. I’m nourishing my relationship to myself (my whole self and my hidden self). By doing so, I feel like my relationship to everything (to nature, to others, to spirit, to purpose) is evolving. While therapy has helped me to unlock unseen parts of myself, it has also helped me tremendously in times of difficulty.

    Life can be complicated. These are some of the challenges that therapy has helped me through.

    • The sudden death of my father
    • Mental illness in the family or seeing loved ones suffer
    • Relationship and family conflict
    • Breakups, work issues, moral quandaries, a world seemingly in crisis
    • Anger issues, frustration, impatience

    On a lighter note, it helps me find my inner voice and trust more.

    I could easily see another version of my life where therapy didn’t cross my radar. Where I never realized that it could be both affordable and accessible. In fact, I’ve had a number of friends that have been meaning to try therapy but struggle to do so. Fortunately, knowing people that go to therapy and hearing how it helped them made it seem like an option for me too. 

    Everybody’s experience will be different but if you ask me, if you’re open or have been putting it off, maybe this can be a gentle nudge to make that appointment. Therapy is not the only thing that has changed my life but it’s probably the one I can most easily recommend. :) I think that therapy or therapeutic practices could really change our world. I know it has changed mine and that of my family.

    In support of mental wellness, I’ve implemented company subsidized therapy at Hereafter. And I talk openly about mental health in the hopes of normalizing such discussions in the workplace. It’s not like we’re fancy and have a million perks (though it’s a great place to work!) — it’s just something that I wish I had at my past jobs. I hope that the more “mainstream” mental health services become, it will be made more accessible and affordable for all. 

    Below I’ve listed some resources since I know finding a compatible therapist is a big hurdle.

    If you’re new to this journey or looking for a therapist: 

    If you worry about affordable options:

    • Open Path Collective Non profit dedicated to serving clients who lack health insurance or whose health insurance doesn’t provide adequate mental health benefits. For clients that can’t afford current market therapy rates. ($30-$80 for sessions). In partnership with licensed mental health clinicians in private practice, Open Path provides middle and lower-income level individuals, couples, families, and children with access to affordable psychotherapy and mental health education services.
    • USC Telehealth: Offers free counseling in English and Spanish.
    • Wright Institute LA: This is where I met my current therapist. They offer sliding scale therapy.
    • Southern California Counseling Center: Offers services based on your ability to pay.
    • Asians for Mental Health: An Instagram account that includes a directory, talks, poetry, and more.

    If you need an accountability buddy:

    • You can ask somebody you know
    • Email me (yvonne@hereafter.la) and I’ll check in and send you a note of encouragement!

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