The idea of therapy can be anxiety provoking and exhausting to many. With regular misconceptions in the media and negative portrayals of therapists in television shows and movies, it's no wonder why. We will review the process of finding a therapist, choosing one that's appropriate for you, and how to maintain a positive relationship.
Picking a Therapist
For most, reaching out to a therapist is the hardest step. We understand that there's a decision that must be made and there are many factors that go into it such as availability, insurance, drive time, technique, and out of pocket cost. Many therapists will offer a complimentary phone call to review these details in order to determine if it's the best fit. While relationship isn't everything, you're more likely to make progress with a therapist that you admire because you will feel more comfortable being open with them. If they specialize in the area you would like to focus on, then that may be the most important factor because they should be current with techniques so they are more adept to help you. Some recommended questions to ask are:
What can I expect?
What does your schedule look like?
What are your fees?
These questions are a few samplers. You might have some more specific questions that you wish to ask depending on your needs. The goal here is to determine if they will be a good fit for you and if you feel comfortable talking with them. While there are many ways in which to find a therapist, some primary techniques are to do an internet search for your area, ask for recommendations from people you trust, or to check with your insurance provider about specific therapists in your area. Lastly, you can always contact a mental health organization, such as the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) or call #411 for information on resources in your area.
Building a Therapeutic Relationship
Your therapist wants to help you. While I can't speak for every single therapist, therapists I've met want to make a positive impact on your life. It's usually what drives us to practice therapy in the first place. We will have some questions for you when we first meet so we can get to know more about what makes you, you. We want you to feel comfortable about the process so feel free to ask questions.
If your child is receiving services, the therapist will create a plan with the minor as well as the guardian. Therapists will provide general details and information with family members, as needed, but will primarily be focusing on building the relationship with their client. These goals will vary on specifics, such as your child's age.
Keeping Your Relationship
Your therapist wants to help you. While I can't speak for every single therapist, every therapist I have ever talked to wants to make a positive impact on your life. It's usually what drives us to practice therapy in the first place. With that being said, every person might have a different style. Letting us know what was useful or what wasn't helps us determine what direction to guide you in.
As you and your therapist get closer to ending services, you may find yourself wondering what the next step is. For many, the last session may be the last time you work with this professional. All therapists will discuss a plan with you for future use, the way in which you can contact them, and additional resources (as necessary).
Megan Bowling, M.A., LMFT