The thought of starting therapy can be scary for many of us. It can be especially difficult when it isn’t normalized to us or the people around us. For example, growing up we may have only heard negative things about therapy such as that it’s only for “out of control” and “crazy” people. Of course, none of this is true, but it can result in us feeling ashamed or wanting to hide that we need therapy.
These are all valid emotions, but, we can’t let them prevent us from seeking the help we need. The newness of it all can amplify these emotions even more so taking the leap and just starting is the best thing to do. Here are three tips to make your therapy journey a lot easier.
Learn From Others
If you have no experience with therapy whatsoever, it can be difficult to know what to expect. Talking to others with some experience will lessen that fear you have of the unknown. The mysteriousness of it can be a major factor in your hesitance to start.
Start with asking friends and family if they have any experience with therapy. You never know who does until you ask. They may be able to give some really good advice or even help you start your journey. Of course, only do this if you are comfortable with it. If you’re unable to have these conversations with anyone, not even a teacher or mentor, find a community to join. There are many online communities which is a great option for those who’d like to remain anonymous. If you prefer meeting others in person, research some information sessions in your area or at your institution. There are also so many bloggers who write about their therapy experiences and share what their sessions look like. Reach out to them and ask for advice.
Speaking to others can give you reassurance and help you not feel discouraged when you encounter certain things. For example, many people start having nightmares after starting therapy. If you experience this not knowing that it’s actually quite common, you may feel discouraged or like you’re doing something wrong. I know it can be scary to speak to others about something you may not want to share, but, if you have no other support around you, this tip can make such a big difference.
Pick The Right Therapist
Finding the right therapist for you can make your journey so much easier. We all have different personalities and so do therapists. Finding one we can click with is key. For example, If you’re on the quieter shy side, maybe you would want someone with a bubbly and outgoing personality who can bring out the more talkative side of you. Or maybe you’re on the more serious side so you prefer someone who is also serious. Whatever the case may be, don’t settle for a therapist you don’t feel comfortable with.
If you’d like to get a feel for a therapist’s personality, call and ask them questions before booking an appointment. Your conversation will give you a pretty good idea of how you might get along. Of course, you can’t one hundred percent know if they are the right one from just a phone call, but, you will at least be able to weed out the ones you know won’t work.
Book an appointment with your top pick and if the first few sessions don’t feel right, don’t hesitate to switch to another therapist. Don’t doubt yourself and wonder if you feel a certain way because of how difficult therapy is for you. When you’re seeing the right therapist, it will feel right despite the challenges. Awkwardness and shame are all normal feelings at the beginning. Give it some time, but if those feelings persist a little too long and you’re unable to open up, try out another therapist. Don’t ever doubt whether therapy is right for you. There are so many therapists and therapy styles out there that are bound to work for you.
Create A Therapy Budget
If you have to pay for therapy out of pocket, it can get pretty pricey. A mistake many people make when starting therapy is rushing into it because they feel like they have to, and then not being able to afford to keep going. Avoid this mistake by creating a budget for yourself.
While researching therapists, make sure you are also thinking about the cost. Don’t just think about if you can afford it now, but also if you will be able to in a few months. Write out a budget for yourself and work out what you will be able to afford in the long run. You don’t want to have to interrupt your therapy journey especially after getting used to a specific therapist. Also, don’t hesitate to talk to your therapist about your budget. Many therapists work on a sliding scale and can work something out with you. If you’re at an institution, therapy services will most likely be free for you so that would be a great option.
If none of these are an option for you, consider other forms of therapy that may be cheaper such as group therapy. Group therapy may sound scary, but, think about it as killing two birds with one stone. You’re thinking about your budget in the long run while also forming a community where you can learn from others.
Therapy Is For Everyone
People go to therapy for so many different reasons from wanting help recovering from a mental illness to simply wanting to improve their self-expression. Whatever the reason may be for you, don’t let others make you doubt your decision to start.
Therapy has countless benefits and you’ll see them translate into your relationships and everyday life. It also helps with increasing self-awareness and understanding what you need to work on. Most importantly, if you deal with feelings of shame when it comes to therapy, starting will be your first step to prioritizing your self-care and not letting people’s opinions stop you.
1- Do some research and make a list of therapists in your area. Call a few and get a feel for their personalities. Book an appointment with your top pick.
2- Learn about therapy from a friend or family member. If that’s not an option, find an online community or information sessions in your area.
3-Create a budget plan for therapy. Can you afford to keep going in a few months?