The Antibiotic Phenomenon
Have you ever been to the doctor because you weren’t feeling well, and it turned out you had some nasty infection of some sort? If so, your doctor probably prescribed an antibiotic for you to take for somewhere around 10 days (can you tell that I’ve had quite a few doctor visits in my lifetime?) Well, something you may have heard from your doctor, and seen on the prescription paperwork, is complete the full amount of the medicine, even if you are feeling better. The thing is, after the first few days of the medicine getting into your system, it starts to make you feel better, which is a good thing. However, some of your symptoms may be alleviated, but that doesn’t mean the infection is 100% out of your system. Chances are, that’s not the case at all. There could still be some bad bacteria bullies lurking around in your body. And it seems to me that if they survived that first wave of medicine, they are probably the biggest and baddest of them all! Ok, so I’m not a PharmD or an MD, so that probably isn’t accurate, but that's how it plays out in my mind! Anywho, the point is, you have to keep taking the medicine to be sure it is all out of your system. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself right back in the doctor’s office, getting another prescription and going through the process all over again.
The same can be said for counseling. I can’t tell you how many times clients have said that they didn't really feel like they needed to come in for therapy anymore because they were doing so well and feeling so good. Well, duh, of course you feel better, you’ve been going to counseling, learning new coping skills, and practicing them outside the office.
But does that mean everything is magically better? Umm, no. As unfortunate as it is, and as much as I would like to think that after just 3 sessions with me my clients are completely mentally healthy (you know, because I'm just that good...), it just doesn’t work like that. And if you don’t continue your therapeutic treatment, you’ll find yourself in crisis not too far down the line.
When I meet a new client (couples are considered one client, just FYI), I do an initial assessment, get to know them and put together a treatment plan based on what has been proven to work. Just like a doctor writes a prescription based on what medicines have been proven to work for your illness. Stopping halfway through the plan can throw the client completely off course and, in some cases, actually undo the work that we’ve already accomplished. You don’t want to find yourself in that situation. And what’s worse, when you call your counselor back for an appointment because things have started to go south, you may not be able to get back on their schedule for a while, making a bad situation worse. So, today’s lesson is, finish your prescription and continue therapy until your treatment plan is complete! I promise you’ll thank me later!
So, have you ever skipped out on the last few doses of an antibiotic? Ever stopped counseling mid-treatment? Let me know in the comments below!
Would you like to work with me? Reach out via phone at 910-745-0303 or fill out the contact form on the website.