Have you found yourself thinking about wanting to reach out for mental health support? Has that same thought turned into worry or anxiety about what that would look like? If you are experiencing hesitation around beginning therapy, you are not alone. It can feel overwhelming to put yourself in a unfamiliar and vulnerable space. The good news is, educating yourself on the experience and the therapist can provided a safe stepping stone towards getting the support you desire.
Finding the ONE.
Finding a therapist can feel a lot like dating. In fact, thinking of it as speed dating can be a helpful visual to what the experience starts as. There are so many different types of therapists and each one of them come with different personalities, approaches, and resources. Finding the one that is best for you begins with making a list of therapists in your area. Have multiple options allows you to do either a short consultation virtually with those on the list, or even try out a first session, without feeling locked in with one person right off. Resources like lists from your insurance provider, Psychology Today, Mental Health Match, Google, and social media can be a great place to start looking. After talking with variety of providers, take note of your first impression, what you liked, did not like, want more information on, or found interesting. At any point in the therapy process you a free to try something new, you are not locked into one person.
Identify the Points of Hesitation
Make a list of what is making you concerned, worried or anxious about starting therapy. Maybe this is adverse past experiences with a therapist, challenges with trust, fear of how to talk about what is going on, etc. Look at what may be causing these hesitations, and ask if there is anything you can do to address these concerns. Do not be afraid to also vocalize these concerns to a therapist during a consultation or first session. Therapists are trained to address these concerns, and can often support you in beginning to manage them.
Speak With Others
Do you have friends or family in therapy? Now is a great time to talk to them about why they are still going and what some of their concerns were when they started. You are not alone in your hesitations, and hearing how or why others were able to overcome these concerns can help launch your confidence. Ask where they experienced unexpected value from their experience, and what has supported them in continuing to prioritize therapy. Talking to others can be a great way to feel validated in what you are currently experiencing.
Give Yourself An Out
Give yourself a window of time you are willing to try something. For example, I’m going to give myself five sessions and check back in with myself about how I am feeling about the experience. Check in with where you are seeing value, what has been your impression of the experience so far, do you see yourself being to grow in this space, do you feel supported by the therapist, etc. This is not to be mistaken with “I don’t see progress yet”, as you cannot put a timeline on healing; however you can look for the capacity for progress within the space that the therapist is curating for emotional safety. If it truly is not a good fit, this is something to discuss with the therapist, who can either make appropriate changes or support you in finding a better fit.
Along with searching for a therapist through different platforms, it can also be beneficial to research different styles of therapy and hear about the experiences that have drawn people to enjoy therapy. Many prominent figures, from celebrities to local businesses, have openly discussed changes and resources being utilized for mental health. Now more than ever, the discussion around mental health has been a driving conversation that can be found on many corners of the internet. This can be a great way to begin exploring the potential therapy could have in your own life.
At the end of the day, being worried about forming a new relationship with a therapist can feel scary and hard. There is nothing wrong with being hesitant about how the experience can support you. In fact, most people do come in anxious or skeptical. A healthy level of skepticism is not only manageable, but encouraged in the therapeutic space. It allows room for the therapist to build trust and rapport with you, while also addressing the concerns directly.