Looking for a therapist can feel scary, intimidating, and sometimes overwhelming. That's okay. Taking that first step toward a healthier life is worth taking pride in. While this journey may have all kinds of emotions, there are ways to ease the weight.
One way is to find a good therapist; who you have as a therapist makes all the difference in your healing. As you embark on this adventure, here are five things that we at Pathways Wellness Center believe that you should consider in your pursuit of the right therapist.
One important factor when looking for a therapist is the therapist's qualifications and experience. At Pathways Wellness Center, we believe that therapy's priority is ensuring you're getting the help you need. As a result, each therapist has individual specialties and credentials. Evaluating your mental health goals and finding an experienced, licensed therapist whose qualifications match your needs is important.
For example, if you struggle with anxiety, you'll want to look for a therapist specializing in anxiety disorders. If you've experienced trauma or have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), your therapist should have an extensive background in trauma-informed care.
Keep in mind it may be necessary to meet with a couple of therapists before you find one that's a good fit.
There are various types of therapy techniques that your therapist may use. Each therapist's treatment style will vary based on their specialties and experience in their field. As a result, it's important to consider your comfort level with the potential treatment techniques the therapist could provide. If you're unsure about the specific treatments provided, ask the therapist to share what they think will be most helpful for your situation.
While the therapy techniques used will be individualized based on each person's specific needs, some common therapy techniques could include:
Similar to each therapist having their accreditation and specialties, every therapist has a system of requesting and accepting payments. Some therapists accept insurance, some are cash-only, and others offer package deals or charge on a sliding scale. Depending on your needs and financial status, certain therapists may charge a specific amount. Since each clinic operates differently, it's important to find out what is available and appropriate within your budget.
If you are on the fence about whether or not you should go to therapy, it might be worth considering the emotional and physical costs of not going to therapy.
If you can't financially afford therapy, don't worry, you still have options. For example:
Another important factor in evaluating when considering therapy is where the therapist's office is located. If you do not drive or you prefer to stay close to home, it may be best to go with a therapist who is nearby or who offers telehealth visits. Meanwhile, if you don't mind a commute or having extra time to process after a session, the location may not be a determining factor in your choice of therapist. Either way, the location and time you will commute to and from the office are worth considering.
One of the most important factors to evaluate when looking into therapy is your comfort level. Do you feel more comfortable with a male or female therapist? When speaking to the therapist, are your feelings acknowledged and heard? Do you feel safe and cared for as you share vulnerable feelings and memories?
As you consider these key factors, it is also important to remember that therapy may not always feel good. You will be working through some difficult emotions, memories, and feelings, and it is common for your body to feel a range of emotions before, during, and afterward. Your therapist might not tell you what you want to hear, and they might push you out of your comfort zone sometimes. Even though it might not always be enjoyable to work through those feelings at the moment, you should always feel physically and emotionally safe with your therapist.
It is also important to remember that it's okay to change therapists until you find one that best suits you. Building a relationship of any kind takes time, especially one that involves emotional vulnerability. A therapist/client relationship is no different. It might take time to build trust and get to know each other before you fully feel comfortable. A good therapist will be willing to put in the time and effort to prove they are a safe person to share with.
Attending therapy is a big step toward advocating for yourself and your mental health. Whether this is your first time attending therapy or your hundredth, you do not have to do it alone. At Pathways Wellness Center, we exist to walk alongside you every step of your journey. We offer personalized support for individuals, couples, and families who need assistance coping with anxiety, depression, addiction recovery, self-image, and much more. Our licensed, experienced, compassionate therapists are available to consult with you in person, virtually, or over the phone. To find out more information on how our therapists can help you be your healthiest self, please reach out to us at (888) 771-0966.