As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, we address the benefit of therapy and the sometimes scary venture of finding a good therapist.
Why would I need therapy?
Therapy isn’t just for the depressed or mentally ill. Everyone can benefit from a good therapist if they hit a snag in their emotional life. You might feel anxious, off-track, un-centered or sad. Or, you might be experiencing conflicts and issues from the past or present and don’t know how to move forward. You might just feel like you need a little help.
Ask friends for recommendations on a good therapist.
The people you know can sometimes be your best resource. Maybe you don’t want to go to the exact same therapist as your friend or sister but their therapist could recommend someone else.
Do some research.
Try a site like Psychology Today and use their “Find a therapist” tool. You can search by location and style. Then, visit their website and see if their style of writing and presenting themselves appeals to you. Don’t ever feel like you “should” go to someone because they “seem” good. A good therapist is the one who is right for you.
Interview your potential therapist.
Once you’ve found a few, call them. Email them. Ask lots of questions. Remember this is someone you’re going to be sharing a lot with so you want to make sure they’re right for you. Don’t just pick the closest or the cheapest therapist. Like choosing where you’re going to live or what you’re going to wear, be selective!
What is her philosophy?
Do you need someone who is a cognitive therapist (someone who deals with changing awareness and behavior) or a psychodynamic therapist (dealing with unconscious reasons)? Knowing the different methods of therapy that exist can be useful as you search for a good therapist.
What does it cost?
Some therapists take insurance and MANY insurance companies offer behavior health care. Check with your insurance to find out what their policy is. Sometimes they will cover sessions but only a limited amount. Your therapist should be willing to formulate a workable solution for you. If they do not accept insurance or don’t accept yours, ask about a sliding scale that is often determined by your financial capabilities. Keep in mind that your first session will often cost more than subsequent ones since there’s more to cover for them to initially get to know you.
Don’t edit yourself.
Now that you’ve found someone, make the most of it. Don’t go in thinking you can carry on a conversation like you might at work or out with friends. Get to the heart of it. A good therapist wants to know what is really bothering you, even if you find it trivial. The smallest things can help a therapist refine your treatment. Covering things up and trying to put on a good face only end up wasting time and your money!
A good therapist creates a challenge.
Change isn’t easy. Therapy isn’t easy. You’re diving in and dealing with the problems that you might not like about yourself or feel painful to bring up. A good therapist might even make you feel uncomfortable at times. Because it is a relationship unlike any you may have with friends or family, it might feel a bit awkward and might even make you feel upset or angry. Within reason, you shouldn’t be afraid to confront these feelings. Of course, if it is truly something you’re not ready to share, this should be communicated. A good therapist will know when to push and when to ease back.
What about sex therapy?
There can be many reasons you might seek out a sex therapist vs. a traditional therapist. Some reasons you might seek a good therapist for sexual issues include: mismatched libidos with your partner, decreased libido, sexual trauma or issues preventing you from having a satisfying love life, coping with the emotional and sexual effects of surgery, illness, disability, menopause or other physical issues. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) provides a source for finding a good therapist for sexual issues in your area.
Other sources: http://www.wsj.com/articles/will-you-be-my-therapist-expert-advice-on-finding-the-right-one-1411424712
photo credit: day 055. via photopin (license)