What to Know Before Starting Therapy
Starting the therapy process can be intimidating. Maybe you've been in therapy before and are looking for a new therapist, or maybe this is your first time and you don't know where to start. I'm sure there are a dozen questions on your mind as you browse different websites...who will be the right fit for me? What are my goals? Am I even ready to open up? Your questions are valid and in this article, I will do my best to share some tips that can help make this process more straightforward and seamless for you.
Take your time interviewing therapists to find the right fit for you. No fit will be perfect, but you have a right to a therapist who you feel comfortable speaking with and who gets you. Think age, race, religious background, types of therapy they specialize in, years of experience and the list goes on...so, what's important to you? You have a right to ask these questions in the initial consultation to determine if they will be a good fit.
Therapy frequency. How often are you looking to attend therapy? Most therapists offer weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sessions. This is something you can ask your therapist during your first session of what they also think would be beneficial for you. However, it's also depending on what your current needs are. Are you going through a lot and feel weekly would be best, or are you looking for more maintenance therapy on a monthly basis? Consider this and see if your new therapist can meet this need.
Are you feeling hesitant about opening up to a stranger? As a therapist, I've seen most clients have this hesitation. It's totally normal. Share this with your new therapist. As scary as that may sound, this is actually helpful information for a therapist. We are trained to ask quite a few questions during the first session (called an intake session), when you tell us that you're hesitant in opening up, that's good feedback for us to start slow and ease you into the process.
Everyone is in different stages of healing. Let your therapist know where you're at. I'll use an analogy of a personal trainer. If a personal trainer gets a body builder client who has trained before, they will start them off with more intense exercises. This would be different from a client who is a beginner in exercise. As a therapist, it's very helpful for me to either have a client express their lack of experience in therapy (see #3), or their extensive experience. This helps me not move too fast for the beginners, pick up where the last therapist left off for those in the middle of their healing journey, and not be too repetitive for the more seasoned clients.
Check your psychotherapy coverage with your insurance plan before getting started. Most insurance plans cover psychotherapy, even most university student plans! Do your research before hand because your therapy sessions could be covered.
I hope these tips were helpful and like #1 states, you should feel comfortable with your therapist to ask them any questions you may have. They are there to support YOU. Happy healing!