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Finding a Therapist or Mentor/Coach
Finding a Therapist
Here are some tips to help you find a therapist on your journey. It’s perfectly acceptable to “shop” for a therapist. You will be investing time, money and energy. Finding the right fit is important, as is finding a professional who has knowledge of dyslexia and is trained in methods which provide the best support for healing. First of all, it’s amazing that many therapists may still not thoroughly understand dyslexia, how widespread it is, and the particular needs of dyslexic clients.
Regarding “talk therapy,” while talking and sharing may provide some relief, the new findings of neuroscience have proven that effective therapy involves much more than talking, and that therapies that incorporate body-brain-and-relationship, and also which understand and work with trauma, promote change more easily. For example:
Somatic Psychotherapy takes into account what is happening in the body, provides support for healing developmental trauma, and enhances and expedites healing.
Trauma Work (which is also somatic, because trauma is in the brain and body), provides specific resourcing and healing for trauma.
Parts Work, Psychodrama and Experiential Psychotherapy are right-brained, creative techniques that greatly facilitate healing.
Note: Traditional CBT therapy (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), for example, which heavily relies on the rational mind, is not best suited for working with trauma, nor for working with dyslexics who are naturally more right-brained. However, experiential modalities may utilize the best of CBT in an experiential way as one of a large set of tools.
Important screening questions to ask a prospective therapist:
- What is your understanding of dyslexia?
- What is your understanding of the dyslexic experience of school?
- Have you worked with adult dyslexics?
- What kinds of approaches do you use with dyslexics?
- Do you have training in somatic or experiential psychotherapy?
- Do you have training in working with trauma?
Some Somatic and Experiential Forms of Psychotherapy
Somatic and Experiential Forms of Psychotherapy
- Attachment-Based Therapy
- Emotionally Focused Therapy or EFT
- Energy work
- Experiential Psychotherapy
- Expressive Arts
- Guided Visualization
- Mindfulness-Based practices
- Parts Work—Hakomi; Re-Creation of the Self; Internal Family Systems or IFS
- Re-Creation of the Self
- Somatic Psychotherapy
Trauma Therapies (which are also Somatic/Experiential):
- Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
- Somatic Experiencing or SE
The difference between a Therapist and a Mentor/Coach
What Therapists Do:
- Help you change your belief systems so that you can access who you truly are.
- Help you deal with trauma, anxiety, depression, anger and grief arising out of formative experiences.
- Help you build self esteem.
- Help you get unstuck and remove the blocks that are keeping you from fulfilling your dreams and desires and whatever you are trying to accomplish.
- A good therapist has a large toolset that is specifically suited to your needs.
What Mentors and Coaches Do:
- Help clients take their new belief systems and apply them to the world in practical ways.
- Work with you to put together a strategy to help you accomplish your goals.
- Once the strategy, or blueprint, is created, the mentor and you go about gathering all the raw and refined resources you need to accomplish your goals.
- Most of these resources will be information which the mentor will help you evaluate and implement.
- If some of the resource acquisition requires influencing other people to rally them for support of your dreams, the mentor may actually accompany you or be available on the phone as a support for you prior to important meetings (for example, with attorneys, or to speak with loan officers, or for prospective business opportunities). A mentor can also act as an intermediary and lend you credibility.
- A good mentor has a wealth of practical information and a honed ability to guide you to your goal.
A Metaphor for Deciding—Therapist or Mentor?
A therapist is like the mechanic who will help you repair your engine and prepare your car so it’s in top shape—so you have confidence and know who you are and what you want. A mentor/coach is the pit crew boss speaking to you on your headset to help you win the Grand Prix. When you’re up on the wall going 175 miles per hour, you’re not talking to your mechanic, you’re talking to your pit crew boss.
The Benefit of a Professional Who Is Also Dyslexic
Dyslexics especially benefit from someone who has been through and understands their experience from the inside out. For example, Joseph Feusi, at motivationalmentor.com is a Mentor who is also dyslexic and who has a specialty helping fellow dyslexics discover their brilliance. He works with both adults and youth by phone and Zoom worldwide, and in person in the San Francisco Bay Area (post-COVID). He supports young dyslexics to launch into the world, and helps mature dyslexics realize their wellspring of gifts. As a dyslexic, he is a great example of someone who has made a career of using his dyslexic gifts of big picture thinking and the ability to make connections to help his clients. How he expresses this:
- “I have an ability to see patterns and with practicality, laser-like accuracy, compassion, humor and thoroughness to help people figure out the actions they need to take in order to get the desired effect that they were hoping for. My unique blend of gifts allows me to think outside the box and and intuitively come up with practical and surprising solutions as I help my clients take the necessary steps to implement what needs to be done to realize their dreams. I've been mentoring people at Motivational Mentor since 1994.”
Learn more about Joseph's Mentoring practice on his website at: motivationalmentor.com
Help On The Quest
Find a Sensorimotor Psychotherapist or Certified Hakomi Therapist—A Resource for Dyslexic Clients Seeking a Therapist or Counselor
You will benefit the most from a therapist or counselor who:
- Specializes in trauma.
- Does somatic therapy.
- Provides somatic support for developmental wounding.
- These modalities include awareness of the body (“soma”) and use the entire brain. These are approaches that most effectively heal trauma and restore resilience.
- Talk therapy only, including CBT, is not effective.
It’s perfectly reasonable, and your right, to grill a prospective therapist about their knowledge of dyslexia—you will be investing time and money and they should either have some understanding of dyslexia and the emotional impact or be willing to learn.
- You can send a prospective therapist to our website to learn about dyslexia and the emotional impact of early experiences in school, or contact us to consult. Our link is: https://dyslexicselfesteem.com
- And this is the direct link to this page for important screening questions you can ask a prospective therapist to ensure you are a match: https://dyslexicselfesteem.com/how-to-find-a-therapist-or-mentor-coach
These days most therapy is online due to COVID. The upside is that extends your range throughout your area to find a therapist, and this telehealth option will likely continue into the future as therapists and clients grow more used to it.
- Here is an important source to find a somatic-and-trauma-informed therapist in your area. The list includes practitioners worldwide. It’s the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy list. The “Certified Advanced Practitioners” at the top of the list have the most experience: https://account.sensorimotorpsychotherapy.org/directory.html
- Another great resource is the list of Certified Hakomi Therapists in your area. The list includes practitioners worldwide. CHTs have a wealth of experience working somatically and developmentally. Ask to make sure they have also been trained in working with trauma: https://hakomiinstitute.com/directory/directory-intro
We’d love to hear about any therapist who you find to be a valuable ally, as we are building a list of dyslexia-aware therapists in different areas of the world to refer people to.