You are the arbiter of your whole life.
This means that you hold the keys to your health in every area- body, mind, spirit and relationally.
If this sounds strange, you need to know you have more power to make lasting change than you realize. If you feel powerless and drained, you may have handed these keys over to someone else, and this could include another health professional. A reputable therapist understands and respects this simple truth and will ensure that you, alone, are in charge of your treatment strategy.
Being healthy requires a whole-life approach.
If you are treating symptoms in any area of life, you must treat all the other areas of your life at the same time.
Band-aid solutions are temporary at best. Your treatment strategy should include ways to build, correct, and support your goals in the areas of your spirit, your brain & body, your thinking, your feelings, your personhood, and your social relationships. An approach less than this may explain why previous attempts at health have failed.
Qualified clinicians are "trauma-informed."
Trauma has many sources and is any type of incident that threatens your sense of well-being, whether physically, mentally, or otherwise.
Trauma is a natural part of life. What makes it a problem is when it is more severe than your ability to cope with it. In those situations, the brain and body work together to provide solutions. However, this trauma system can be thrown into chaos due to trauma during critical times in your childhood development. When this happens, your best efforts will make your situation worse, not better.
Your effective treatment strategy will address your trauma system by reducing stress, building onto coping strengths, and working through dissociation, which is a normal protection mechanism. Dissociation is great when you are actually facing a bear, but becomes your worst enemy when it blocks out symptoms designed to warn you that changes are needed in your life patterns. Numbing out may feel good in the moment, but the cost can become deadly.
Effective treatments have proven success.
The technical term for this is "empirically-supported treatments" or EST.
This means that specific treatments have been researched and found to be safe and effective for your particular set of problems. That said, the health field varies on what it considers to be empirically-supported. Be sure to investigate the treatments suggested to you, and choose only the ones you are comfortable with.
Treatment strategies have a clear purpose.
A shotgun approach is like trying everything and hoping something works.
A well-planned healing strategy is more like a rifle in that it aims at specific targets. Your strategy should include a list of symptoms you wish to change, the strengths and resources you already have to contribute to your goals, and the specific outcomes you desire in each of the 7 areas of life listed above. Developing this strategy can be overwhelming for some. This is where the assistance of a trauma-informed clinician becomes very important. Outcomes are chosen on the basis of needs, and knowing what those needs are in the face of a trauma history can be very difficult. A qualified clinician can help you identify these needs, then plan out effective solutions.
Gaining more knowledge is not enough.
Knowing something does not change your experience of it.
When it comes down to a battle between what you know and what you feel, your behavior will most likely reflect what you feel. A trauma-informed clinician will help you choose a strategy that works with both what you think about your situation, and how you feel about the experience of it. As these two perspectives begin to match up, you may find that many of your symptoms will clear up on their own. This strategy is known as a "mindfulness" approach.
How do I love me... let me count the ways!
No healing strategy, no matter how well researched and thought out, will work until you are able to honestly and completely love yourself.
Babies naturally love themselves. If you did not learn that you are lovable, valuable, and worthwhile, your ability to change your life will be impaired at best. Health begins from a base of honoring and respecting yourself, your spiritual Source, and all that abides in this world. Like a 3-legged stool, it will not stand with only an ability to love your Source and your neighbor, but not yourself. Loving you is where it all starts.