Back when I started out I was taught that - no one recovers from mental ill health.
People can learn to cope...
But once your mind goes wonky there's no getting it back into a straight line again.
When I left other mental health organisations and branched out on my own I started to question all that I had been taught.
If people 'can't be fixed' then how am I bringing people back to full mental health?
How after 12 weeks do they no longer have the issues they started with?
How is it they have a zest for life when 12 weeks prior even getting them to engage in the outside world felt like I was dragging them up a mountain...
As I continued to work with people and help them overcome their deep routed issues I discovered something.
And something that made me feel like a little bit of a fraud...
In the first 4 weeks of therapy no therapy takes place (my major 'fraud' feeling part).
We sit down, work out some goals and then each week we address one of the 3 major lifestyle factors (sleep, diet & exercise).
Week 4 arrives and we re-screen for the mental health issue and the severity level has dropped. People who 4 weeks before had tried to commit suicide and who were pretty much 'off the chart' with issues are now sitting at moderate.
I haven't even done anything yet.
Usually this new rating gives them a huge boost and enables us to go full steam ahead to the next phase - where a little bit of therapy takes place.
As we concentrate on fulfilling each of the 9 goals set in week 1 I bring different techniques, tricks and hacks to the table. We practice in the session and then off they go to carry out their homework and do the same thing for a full week.
Each week they come back and are visibly changed.
We hit week 8 and do another screening.
We've shaved off another severity level.
They're now sat at mild.
In my mind I still haven't done anything.
I mean they're doing all the work...
So onto week 9, 10 and 11 I show a few more tips, tricks and hacks and by now they're bouncing into the therapy room.
In the beginning I'm physically drained after the hour session.
Now I am energized and buzzing after we've finished.
Week 12 arrives.
The final screening.
I don't even need to do the screening to know that they've overcome their difficulties.
I've witnessed the change.
We do it anyway.
They're astounded when they circle 0 for everything.
The look of shock always makes me laugh - even now.
As I recounted this to one of my colleagues the other day over a coffee they looked at me in disbelief.
Mainly because I was so adamant that I hadn't 'done anything'.
Her response was this:
"You feel like a fraud because you are so in tune with what they need and which techniques are going to help them. Out of the multitude of techniques you tailor a package which helps them on their specific journey. To you, you have given them something simple, but you have got to remember you've not only spent thousands of pounds learning these you've also spent thousands of hours practicing and understanding these techniques. You're not a fraud - you're just really good at what you do."
Then it hit me.
I did go to uni for 5 years, then gain 4 diplomas in other fields as well as attend specialist training...
I did spend 2 years working for the world leading paediatric eating disorder specialist...
I have spent a lot (and I mean a lot) of time working with people...
The reason I feel like a fraud is because it comes naturally to me now.
It didn't used to.
I'm not saying this to boast - but to help you see.
Just because you forget about all the time and effort you have put into learning your own field of expertise (and occasionally feel like a fraud) don't take yourself for granted.
What you know and what you can do is unique.
Even if you're working in the same field as someone else the way they approach a problem and/or find a solution will be different.
So to all those of you out there who feel like a fraud - congratulations you've made it!
Have a wonderful Monday & catch you soon - Katie.
p.s. if you're struggling with your mental health and are ready to move forward then give us a shout and I'll gladly help you get back in the driving seat of your life -
Katie Woodland - A developmental, and holistic psychologist who specialises in educating and empowering individuals, business leaders & school teachers to remove mental health as a barrier to success.
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