Hufsa Ahmad - Mental Health Speaker, Coach & Therapist

Relapse is Part of Recovery, TEDx talk is out!

“Relapses are opportunities for growth, not something to be ashamed.”

“We all need to be supportive of the people who relapse, because we all relapse.”


Just some quotes from my new TEDx talk, which is about how the lowest points in our lives bring us insight and are NOT something to be ashamed of. I talked about my mental health history but expand challenges to apply to anyone and everyone – we are all in the same boat, which means we ALL need to support each other. Check it out!

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Hi everyone! Hope that you are well! I have some great news…I will be giving a TEDx talk in New Jersey on April 7, 2018! My talk is called “Relapse is Part of Recovery.” I’m interviewing 100 people to really flesh out my talk, and here is a summary:

“Relapse is part of recovery” is a term frequently used in the addiction world to encourage people to continue if they lose their sobriety. But relapses (which I define as “rock bottoms”) happen outside of addiction and mental illness: there are relapses in careers, relationships, societies, identities, etc.

When people relapse, they are often faced with shame, disappointment, and see it as a failure. But what I’m finding is that frequently, as a result of a relapse, we gain some sort of insight that changes our lives for the better.

My talk argues that we need to rethink our views of relapse and how we handle relapses. We need to recognize that they are frequently an opportunity for growth. When someone relapses, we need to be supportive, encouraging, and hopeful. And that, my friends, will lead to “A Better Future” (the theme of the TEDx I am part of).

I am documenting my whole journey of building this TEDx talk on instagram: @hufsathegreat. I can’t tell you how many people are coming together to help me with this talk: allowing me to interview them, sending me pictures…I even have local actors who are going to help me film a scene for my talk. Wow!

Stay tuned! I’ll be posting about some of the stories I have been hearing!

How to Find a Good Therapist in 6 Steps

1. First, find out what type of professional you need.

Psychiatrists (MD): Psychiatrists give you medications for your symptoms. This is the only type of doctor that can give you psychiatric medication, as well as your Primary Care Physician.
Psychologists (PhD, PsyD): These are therapists that help you work through your mental health issues that have doctorate degrees.
Therapists (LMFT, LCSW): LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and LCSW is Licensed Clinical Social Worker. These are also therapists that help you work through your problems. They have Master’s Degrees – which doesn’t necessarily mean that they are worse than psychologists. (FYI. LCSW’s are trained social workers too.)

2. If you have insurance, call your insurance or go to their website to see if you can find a list of professionals by specialty.

3. If there is a list, you can go through each name and search them on Google for reviews. Note: Reviews can be (and often are) pretty unreliable, but if you find someone who has only negative reviews, that might be a sign not to go for them. There could be good information about the style of a therapist.

If there isn’t a list, you may have to go to a low-cost clinic for help – this is likely if you have governmental insurance. Call your local NAMI (find yours through to see if they have a list of free or low-cost clinics who provide therapy. Note: You’re likely to get interns who are trying to get their hours to get licensed (e.g. MFT interns) who are being supervised by a licensed professional – so the quality of therapy can vary.

4. For private therapists, you can ask for a free consultation, which would typically be around 10-15 minutes. This can be done in person or on the phone, depending on the therapist. This is so you get a feel for whether that therapist is right for you.

5. Remember, it can be hard to find a good therapist for you. If you encounter a bad one, I strongly encourage you not to give up and try another one. You can always ask therapists for referrals to other therapists – their feelings won’t be hurt because it happens all the time!

It’s also very easy to tell when therapy isn’t working. You either know within a few sessions, or sometimes, much sooner.

6. And never, never, never care about hurting your therapist’s feelings. If you don’t like how therapy is going, tell them. If they’re a good therapist, they’ll either try to change their therapy tactics in order to serve you better, or let you know if that’s not something they can do (so you can move on to someone else). Ideally, they would refer you to someone else. Communication is CRUCIAL – therapy should be a collaboration, not someone talking at you for 50 minutes.

Here is an excellent article on figuring out whether a therapist is good for you from US News.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.