You deserve a round of applause for acknowledging your need for therapy to improve your mental health. There was a time when people would go to their graves suffering from preventable and treatable issues due to the stereotypes and harsh treatment options. So, the fact that you’re willing to seek assistance is noble. The next step on your journey to mental wellness is scheduling an appointment to begin sessions. Here are some factors to keep in mind.
The only way therapy works is if it accommodates your needs as the patient. Take a moment to think about the type of experience you want. What are your core issues, and what type of therapist is most skilled to help treat them? Do you prefer a male or female therapist? Would you like to meet in an office or home setting? Are you interested in medications, or do you want to take a more holistic approach? The answers to these questions will ultimately help you find the best therapist.
There’s no denying that therapy is expensive. Therapists charge several hundred dollars an hour for their services. Although their help is beneficial, many find it’s not worth the financial strain. Fortunately, there are solutions to make therapy more affordable. Start with your health insurance provider.
Does insurance cover therapy? While many insurance providers have included mental health services in their policies, the types and coverage costs will vary. Ultimately, you want to ensure that your chosen therapist accepts your insurance. If you don’t have insurance or still need financial assistance for therapy, ask about sliding scales, financing, or payment arrangements.
Before visiting the therapist, it’s essential to understand the difference between your expectations and reality. While you should expect a positive therapeutic experience, some expectations are simply unrealistic and could complicate the recovery process. For instance, you hope to connect with your therapist during the first meeting, but some people go to multiple therapists before finding the right one.
Another unrealistic expectation is that you’ll always like the therapist and receive some level of healing after every session. In reality, there are times when your therapist may challenge you or shed light on insecurities that cause you to feel vulnerable and upset. Also, healing is different for everyone and doesn’t happen overnight.
Take a moment to evaluate your expectations and ensure they’re realistic. While it’s good to have standards, being too close-minded can hinder your ability to heal.
What do you want to accomplish through therapy? Having clear goals provide guidance and motivation that inspire you to press forward for change and growth. Are you trying to repair your personal relationships? Are there deep-rooted family or childhood issues preventing you from developing healthy relationships with others? Maybe you simply want to learn how to set healthy boundaries and find positive ways to cope with stress. Whatever your goals are, write them down and share them during your first session.
The final thing to consider when starting therapy is your state of mind. Talking to a stranger about your weaknesses and most vulnerable experiences isn’t an easy task. It often causes you to put up a guard. If you’re unwilling to let those guards down, the therapist can’t do their jobs effectively. So, before your first appointment, ensure your mind is in the right place. Meditate and journal before your session to release any tension. Declare positive affirmations to give you the motivation to be open and honest. Deciding to go to therapy to improve yourself is the best thing you can do for your overall quality of life. If therapy is going to impact your life positively, you must keep factors like those listed above in mind. When you identify your preferences, remove financial barriers, eliminate unrealistic expectations, set goals, and let down your guard, you put yourself in the best position to overcome your challenges and live a happier, healthier life.