You’ve finally decided to start therapy. A courageous and deeply personal decision. We applaud you! Seeking help for your mental health is not easy, and many people never get around to doing it for various reasons. Some are afraid of vulnerability, some don’t see the benefits of therapy, others think it’s a show of weakness to go to therapy, and others don’t have the resources to start therapy.
You’ve made it past all the barriers there may be to seeking therapy but where do you start? Do you just enroll with the first therapist you see online or hear about? What do you need to know before you start therapy? These are some of the questions that people struggle with when they want to start therapy. Understandably so because therapy is a journey and an investment in oneself, you need to have all the information you can get before starting.
Here are a few things to consider before starting therapy:
Determine your goals for therapy. Why are you enrolling in therapy? What do you hope to achieve through the sessions? Please note that you don’t need to be in a crisis to go to therapy. Reasons could be as simple as the desire to talk to someone else about your plans, ideas, and goals. Other reasons can include:
Managing stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health illnesses
Dealing with a traumatic experience like death, accidents, divorce, etc.
Unlearning unhealthy and toxic behaviors like self-sabotage, addictions, negativity, manipulation, etc.
Regulating and coping healthily with your emotions
Processing childhood trauma and growing beyond it
Working through family, parenthood, and relationship issues
Nothing is out of bounds; write about your past and current emotions, symptoms, experiences, troubles, and behaviors. This will make it easy for your therapist to come up with a treatment plan for you and it will help you ease into the sessions. If you’re still unsure about the details of why you feel like you need therapy, come up with just one general reason.
Look for a licensed therapist. You will be sharing the most intimate and vulnerable parts of yourself with the therapist therefore it’s important that they are professionally equipped to take you through the process.
A licensed therapist is guided by professional ethics that protect your confidentiality so what you say to them remains with them even in the event of relationship, group, or family therapy.
They also know the appropriate ways to handle the client-therapist relationship so you can be sure that your boundaries will be respected.
Lastly, a therapist with the right technical training, professional standards of practice, and years of specialized experience will make it safe for you to share your thoughts and feelings because they know what they’re doing.
Ask about a therapist’s educational and experience background during your first consultation call, what you can expect during sessions, location, availability, how long sessions are, insurance policies, and payment plans. Also, ask them if they have experience with your particular issues because they may specialize in different areas that don’t touch on your pain points. Other things to consider are if they are LGBTQ+ affirming, religious in their approach, and/or equipped to provide culturally sensitive therapy.
Look around until you find the right therapist. Finding a therapist you’re compatible with is like looking for the right relationship. You want to be sure that you’ve gotten it right so that you’re not wasting time and resources in a process that’s not fulfilling and helpful. Don’t be afraid to “break up” with a therapist if you don’t feel like they’re the right fit - it’s completely normal to do so.
Therapy is a slow process so you won’t have all the answers and problems solved in the first session that’s why it may be helpful to give the therapist a few sessions before calling it quits with them. The consultation calls are important so that you can get a feel of their personality and presence before going into the first session.
Starting therapy is the best decision you can make for yourself this year. We offer a free 15-minute, no-obligation consultation (by phone or Telehealth). We'll discuss your needs and if we're a good fit for you as well as answer any questions you might have about cost, length of treatment, and coordinating services.
We treat these common concerns:
Anxiety and Phobias
Difficulties with Self-Esteem
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
College/Graduate School Issues
Medical and Health Concerns
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Gender Identity Support
Grief, Loss, or Bereavement