Therapists Share The Most Uplifting Recoveries They Ever Witnessed
Image by Sozavisimost from Pixabay

It's never easy asking for help. Turns out, it's even less easy to give help.

Becoming a therapist or a psychiatrists means you'll be working with people at their lowest, when they feel like they have no where else to turn to help them with problems no one else in their lives could understand or handle.

So, of course you feel good when the help you offer someone actually makes an impact.

Reddit user, u/KelsConditional, wanted to hear something uplifting when they asked:

Therapists and psychiatrists of Reddit, what is the best/most uplifting recovery journey you've witnessed?

Overcoming Minor Problems Leads To Major Results

Sometimes it's the smallest problems that make us feel the worst. Whether it's a mental tick or an external obstacle, the small stuff can be the most important. Overcoming them, getting past them, is critical to maintaining a healthy mind.

To Start, Sometimes It's Anything

As many other therapists mentioned, we can't share many things because of confidentiality, but here's something I can share.

Any time a previously depressed, disinterested, apathetic, or suicidal client tells me about a new hobby or passion, I get so excited.

Doesn't matter what it is. Dungeons and Dragons, pet rats, growing herbs, 3D printing, anime, video games, geocaching...I don't know about any of those things but if my client is excited about it, I'm over the moon and I want to hear all about it.

Seeing them find a passion for SOMETHING, no matter if it's something that I personally find weird or boring - that's a part of my job that I love and I will sit and listen and cheer them on and I will leave that session feeling so happy.


Learning To Take It Slow

Had a client with chronic illnesses. She was often sick or in pain and felt terribly guilty for not being able to care for her family when she had really bad days. On the days when she felt good, she would push herself to her absolute limit by cooking and cleaning and fitting in as much family time as she could before she felt sick again. Inevitably, she would wake up the next day feeling way worse than she did previously because she overextended herself.

This became a rather predictable cycle. It took months to convince her to slow down a little on the days she felt good and to take care of herself on those days too so that her good days might last a little longer, and to stop feeling guilty for her bad days. She was able to find a balance and improve her overall quality of life. She did amazingly, and I still think about her from time to time. It's been 10 years, I hope she's still killing it.


Every Little Bit Helps

Small steps can feel like nothing. What we want is results, we want to feel like we're progressing, but in a big way. The only way to those big results is by making small steps, with a firm base, and taking note of it along the way.

All It Takes Is Everyone To Help

Therapist here. Withholding information for privacy reasons. Kids for me are really rewarding and inspiring to work with.

One kid growled and yelled at me, wouldn't talk to me at all. fought and stole from kids. He had severe trauma of all kinds at a really young age and wasn't given a chance. Refused to attend classes at school. By the end he did a complete 180. Not just because of counseling but also great support from the school. But his transformation was incredible. He went from yelling and growling out of anger to verbalizing anger to verbalizing hurt it stemmed from. It was truly amazing.


Structure Is All They Needed

I'm a therapist inside and outside of the prisons. I'd say at least 1x a month I meet an inmate that was likely a major POS when they committed their crimes. Fast forward 10-20 years of incarceration later, and they are intellectual, hardworking men of integrity. It's amazing what a little bit of structure can do for someone.


Everything You Say Helps

I've regularly had clients tell me some version of, "Remember that thing you told me about breaking up with them/applying for that job/telling them such and such... Well, I took your advice and it really worked and made such a difference!", and in my head I'm thinking, "that's not at all what I said" or "oh, that was just an offhand remark that had nothing to do with what I thought I was trying to do, but good job!"

It has made me realize that change is kind of inevitable (tho not necessarily for the better) and that when people are ready, there's little that will stop them from moving toward that change; they'll take what I say or, a song lyric, or a convo with the Lyft driver, or whatever is around them and turn it into the thing they need. So maybe I'm just more like the catalyst in the sense that I can help start the reaction, but I'm not there in the end result.


Conquering The Impossible

Then there are those situations that call for celebrations of the highest order. When you've mentally, and sometimes physically, overcome something your fellow man might never understand in their lives. A sickness or a setback that would dismantle anyone else.

Living Through The Unimaginable

One that stands out most was a woman who had used heroin, alcohol, and crack for all of her adult life. She was homeless, had never really held a job, and had multiple legal problems due to her drug use. At 50something, she had decided to get clean and did so for several months, until her child was murdered. She had a brief relapse, but got clean again. In 4 years, she sorted out her legal issues, reconnected with her family, left her abusive partner, obtained her own housing, volunteered regularly, and completed a 4 year degree.

I can't imagine having gone from a complete street lifestyle, enduring the worst tragedy one can imagine newly sober, and then entering and excelling in academia.


Getting Past Something Not Many Could Comprehend

I work with veterans who have had traumatic brain Injuries a lot of whom additionally have some combination of ptsd anxiety and depression. One of our most recent patients was a graduate student before deciding to enlist in 2011 to fight isis. He came back unable to walk and unable to read and remember things properly as a result of the damage to his brain. He could no longer focus in classes, and was severely depressed which lead to him not able to finish his PhD.

We do an experimental 10 days brain stimulation treatment combined with vision and working memory therapy and after his 10 days the changes were astounding. He feels motivated again, there was an improvement of almost 100% on every cognitive and executive function task as well as improvements to his vision/reading/focusing ability. He signed up for classes at the community college here and is hopeful he can finish his PhD in geology and get his life back on track. I've never seen such a dramatic improvement before and it made all the difference in the direction of his life. Reminds me why I do what I do


Getting The Family Together

Oh man.. I have so many but my favorite was probably working with a trans client and their mom. Initially their mom insisted she wouldn't use the client's preferred pronouns, was not supportive of the transition, etc.

I was 100% in support of the client and was happy they felt comfortable disclosing. I provided a lot if information about being trans to the mom, lots of science and research, validated her sadness, etc....

And pretty quickly mom began using preferred pronouns but was still reluctant to buy gender confirming clothing or even consider hormones.. But I just kept working with mom....

Then one day mom came to me and said, "I want to buy [insert gender confirming clothing item] but don't know how to approach it"

By the time I left (I had a new job) mom was discussing hormones. It felt great to have such progress with the family ❤


If you need help, seek help. Don't feel ashamed or afraid. There's always assistance out there when you need it.

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