Last year Rainbows’ Mental Health team provided services to 475 children and their families. This amazing group of professionals work with children birth to 5 years old in their homes, early childhood education centers and child care programs. Rainbows is proud to recognize them during Mental Health Awareness Month.
Some time ago, one of the members of our Mental Health team found an analogy about what it is like to seek therapeutic help and she brought it to our team. As a group the analogy spoke to our lived experiences and we liked it.
The story was first posted by Tumblr user @centrumlumina. This is what they wrote.
Here’s a thought I had about how therapy and treatment works (vs how many people imagine it works).
Imagine you have to take a road trip on a deserted road alone. Halfway through your trip, your engine starts to sputter and the car breaks down. What do you do?
A lot of people think that therapy/treatment is like calling a mechanic to come and fix your car for you. You make the call, and then you just wait around until the mechanic has fixed the problem. Your car is good as new! Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that with therapy. There is no “on-call mechanic”. No one is able to fix this car except you.
Instead, it’s like you pull a toolbox out of your trunk, pop open the hood, and dial up the mechanic on the phone. You have to try and describe the problems as clearly as possible, and follow the advice they give you as well as you can.
Sometimes, you won’t understand the advice, and you’ll need them to explain it again – or suggest something else. Sometimes, you’ll do what they say and it still won’t run. And they won’t be able to explain why. They’ll just give you something new to try. Sometimes, you’ll think you fixed the problem and start driving. But the car breaks down two minutes down the road. No matter what happens, it’s going to be hard and messy and frustrating work.
BUT at the end of it, not only will your car be running again – you’ll know how to fix it now. Which isn’t to say that you’ll never need another mechanic ever again. But the next time you get stuck, it will be easier to handle.
It is not uncommon for us to go to a therapist with an expectation that they will have a magic wand, a sage piece of advice, or a special book that will speak to us in hopes that our troubles may dissipate with a session or two or three.
In order for a therapist to help us see improvement in our situation, we have to be able to accurately and truthfully verbalize our story. That may mean that we have to dig deep and disclose information about our past or present situation that may be difficult to discuss with a person who is new to our world. Having faith in a therapist can be quite difficult when you know you have to talk about something that you work hard to not think about in your day-to-day world. But much like the mechanic in the analogy above, without knowing the full and honest description, any help they can give will likely not have a true and lasting impact.
As the Rainbows’ Mental Health team goes about their work with young children and their families or teachers, they work to build relationships with those individuals served. Through that rapport building, we hope that we are able to build a trusting relationship that will allow for accurate and honest discussion about what needs our young clients have so we are able to best help them and the adults who care for them.
Each member of our Mental Health team believes it is an honor to be trusted to help the children and families we serve. Thank you for trusting us in return as we help you and your child.
Should you have questions or want to seek services from Rainbows’ Early Childhood Mental Health Services you can call 316.558.3420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Audra Kenneson, LMSW – Mental Health Coordinator & Specialized Foster Care Coordinator