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Getting Started with Therapy: 5 Things to Consider When Seeking a Therapist

ByAndrea Horbrook, MA, LCPC, LMHC

Welcome to your first steps towards a happier, healthier, more fulfilled you! Seeking therapy can feel overwhelming, but it’s a brave and significant move towards increasing your ability to show up for yourself and address layers of self. In this guide, we’ll walk you through five key things to consider as you embark on this journey. Remember, finding the right therapist is like shopping for a new car – it needs to adjusted to your preference for optimal performance.

Let’s explore five essentials to getting started with therapy.

  1. Understanding Your Needs:

The first step in your therapy journey is internal reflection– understanding your own needs and goals. It’s essential to ask yourself what you desire to achieve through therapy. Are you looking to address specific issues like anxiety, depression, or stress? Or are you seeking general guidance for personal growth and self-improvement? Your reason for seeking therapy will significantly influence the type of therapy and therapist that will be most beneficial for you. Remember, therapy is a deeply personal experience, and clarity about your needs is the cornerstone of a successful therapeutic relationship. Another thought is to also consider the therapist approach to counseling. Are you in need of a therapist who is direct or someone who is supportive and sensitive in their approach.

2. Researching Therapist Qualifications:

Everyone’s needs for seeking therapy are unique, and not all therapist are created equal. Some therapists might specialize in cognitive-behavioral therapy, while others might focus on mindfulness-based stress reduction, Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, or family therapy. It’s important to research the various types of therapy and the qualifications of potential therapists. Check their licensing, education, and areas of expertise. This step ensures that the therapist you choose has the right tools and knowledge to help you navigate your mental health journey effectively.

3. Schedule a Consultation:

Once you have 3-4 potential therapists, the next step is to schedule a consultation. Many therapists offer initial consultations, which are a great opportunity to see if you feel comfortable with their style and approach. During the consultation, ask about their experience with issues similar to yours, their treatment philosophy, and how they plan to support your therapy goals. This meeting is not just for the therapist to understand you, but for you to get a sense of how they work and if it aligns with your needs and comfort.

4. Consider the Logistics:

Practical aspects play an important role in your therapy journey. Consider factors like location- virtual or in-person, session frequency, duration, insurance and cost. If you have a busy schedule, you might prefer online sessions or a therapist with flexible timings. The cost is also an important factor; some therapists offer sliding scale fees based on income, while others might be covered under your health insurance plan. Ensuring these logistical elements align with your life can significantly impact the sustainability of your therapy journey.

5. Readiness and Commitment:

Finally, the most important aspect of starting therapy is your readiness and commitment to the process. Therapy can be challenging; it often requires facing uncomfortable emotions and truths. Therefore, you have to be honest and assess your readiness to engage in this process genuinely. Be prepared for both the highs and lows, and commit to being present and active in your sessions. Your dedication to the process will play a significant role in the outcomes of your therapy.

In conclusion, starting therapy is a sensitive decision and a significant step towards personal growth and wellbeing. By understanding your needs, researching the right therapist, preparing for the initial consultation, considering the practical aspects, and committing to the process, you set the stage for a successful and fulfilling therapeutic experience. Remember, this journey is about you and for you. Embrace it with openness, and you’ll be on your way to a happier, healthier, more fulfilled you.

Remember, though these tips are designed to support your mental health, they don’t replace professional help. If you find yourself struggling, reach out to a mental health professional. Our online community is not a substitute for therapy but a platform to facilitate awareness and self-care practices. If you need assistance, schedule a free consultation today Your mental health is important to us.

Andrea Horbrook, LCPC, LMHC

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