Keep looking for the right support.
Keep looking for the right support. Contributed

Keep looking for the right support


"GOOD help is hard to find.”

This used to be the cry of householders bemoaning the lack of effective domestic staff. There are probably many employers who quietly murmur the same as another new worker fails to live up to their bright promise.

But you found yourself reciting that same proverb as you left yet another practitioner's office feeling unheard, misunderstood, disappointed, and still unwell. No good help here, either. You might feel heavy although your wallet feels lighter.

It just doesn't seem fair. All those health promotions promise us solutions if we just reach out for help. The internet is teeming with people who seem to want to help you. The underlying promise is that any practitioner can offer the same effective treatment. So you reach out, with hope.

Then you sit down in a quiet room with a person you've never met before and reveal what's troubling you. And that's a dangerous time for your recovery.

Because sometimes the response you receive can either encourage you to persist with treatment, or prompt you to shut down, politely going through the motions of the consultation yet inside resolving to never return. Just because they're there to do the job, doesn't mean they're right for you.

The practitioner might not seem genuinely interested in you. They might seem distracted, or impatient, or arrogantly dismiss your concerns as unimportant. You might simply not like each other.

It would be easy at that point to give up, to go home and try to keep living with your problem, particularly if it's embarrassing or concerns tough-to-discuss topics like your mental or sexual health.

But before you pack it in, consider that research has shown most of the benefit from treatment, particularly the talking therapies, comes from the relationship between a practitioner and their client or patient.

The more comfortable and accepted you feel with the practitioner, the more you are likely to open up, the more they'll learn about you, the more supported you'll feel and the more effective your treatment will be. No matter which treatment they apply.

It seems that when you find the right person, you're likely to get better. But actually locating that person?

Well, you might need to go on a few therapeutic 'blind dates' before you find the right practitioner for you. But don't give up, the right practitioner for you is out there.

  • Olwen Anderson is a naturopath and counsellor.