Help me determine how best to go out seeking therapy so I can improve my life. For example, what type of therapist should I get (psychologist? life coach? psychiatrist? other?) and how should I approach it to get maximum benefit?
Well it was bound to happen..."go to therapy" is a common enough answer on Ask MeFi so now here is someone taking that advice.
A short summary of why I think I need therapy at this point: I am finding it hard to reconcile what I want my life to be (fame, fortune, scores of scantily clad women wanting to be with me) with what my life is (standard married boring almost 40 office drone). I am trying to adjust to Tyler Durden's sage advice "You are not a beautiful snowflake", but it's hard...
I feel I have to come to terms with this fairly quickly. Up until a year ago I was feeling on top of the world, but in the past year things seem to have fallen apart.
Current Job: my career came crashing down around me only partially due to the economy. Previously I thought I was on a path to a CEO position; I now find myself stuck in a dead-end job and no prospects for future advancement. Worse, I have an advanced degree in my field and at this age I can't afford (financially) a "career reboot" and start a new career at the bottom again "paying my dues"
Hopes and Dreams: My efforts at breaking into a dream vocation have been met with some harsh realities. I never wanted to be an office worker, I wanted to be an entertainer. I wanted to spend my time on this Earth making others' forget about their lives for a bit and simply enjoy something. I worked in college at writing and producing and tried to cultivate those skills in my off-hours post-college, but was always too afraid to make the big leap and move to L.A. leaving everything behind. I have had some serious talks recently with people who are in the business and I think perhaps it's time for me to give up that dream. But it's a depressing reality, to finally tell yourself "I'm too old for my dreams. I will never accomplish what I want."
Marriage: My marriage is not as fulfilling as I would like. We have been fighting a lot lately, and only partially because of my disappointment in my real and desired careers. We've been married 11 years and while I don't see the marriage ending, I find myself bored in it. We are in too many ruts and seem unable to break out of them.
In the end, in the span of 6 to 12 months I've gone from an energetic, excited person who felt he was on the verge of greatness, to a person who feels his life is no more significant than an ant carrying dirt back to make an anthill. I don't see anything good in my future, just more of the same. I feel that the best moments of my life are behind me, and that I have nothing else to look forward to.
But I think at 40 I'm too young to really be that old.
I don't think I'm clinically depressed, I don't think a chemical imbalance is at work. It's circumstance and coming to grips with reality, and I'm having problems figuring out how to do that. My entire life is now a question of "Why should I bother?" I don't think pills are the answer, and I don't really want to be on medications with all their side effects. Or perhaps I just fall into whatever this is called
But I don't want to feel like my life is over, I want to be happy again. I want to be motivated again. So to try and find this I am going to therapy. But I don't even know where to start.
I feel like I need someone to tell me what I need to do, to point out to me something I'm missing, some way to get back what I've lost (my dreams, my ambition), but in talking to a good friend who has been in therapy for over a year he tells me that isn't what therapists do. He says a good therapist never tells you what to do, they just listen to you talk. Well...that's not quite what I need. I feel fairly self-actualized (which perhaps this post shows). I don't need someone to tell me I had a shitty father and a bad mother, I know those things and I can see the resonance of those facts in my daily life. I know all the root causes of what's wrong with me...I just don't know how to fix them.
Another friend had visited a life-coach for a period and that seemed to help him get his priorities straight and help him achieve many of his life goals. That said, he went in with specific goals and the coach helped him get there. I am pretty much goalless.
So...where do I go from here? I'm thinking psychologist (partially for insurance reasons; they'll cover psychologists but not life coaches), but from people who have been I'd like to know what you think I should seek, and how I should approach it, what my expectations should be, to achieve maximum benefit.
If follow-up info is needed I set up the anon email firstname.lastname@example.org which I will check for the next few days.
Thanks in advance.