It can be a daunting process to start counseling. If we are lucky, we can get a referral from a trusted friend or relative, but that is often not the case. Understandably, we can feel exposed in asking around for help with personal matters. Please remember that this stigma is changing and therapy is becoming a more and more common part of our experiences.
Looking for a counselor breaks down to 2 simple and equally important things: (1) What do you need from therapy, and (2) connection between you and the counselor.
Let’s focus on what you are looking to work on.
We can come into therapy for a number of different things. We have a catch all term when we say “Therapy”, but I mean:
Traditional Therapy / Psychotherapy – Covers mental health issues, needing to feel better, or learn a new skill to manage my mood, behavior, communication better. Examples: Depression, Anxiety, Sleep Issues, Sexual Issues, Communication Problems, Anger, Relational Issues, Trauma, Stress Management.
Life Coaching – Life is going well, but we need to polish certain skills, stratagize to take our live’s in a new and better direction. Examples: Career Questions, Work Dynamics, Communication / Dynamics questions and issues, Life Balance, Self Discovery.
Couples Counseling / Marital Therapy – All couples issues. While yo can do your own work in individual counseling, if the couple has a problem, it is best to both come in and work it out.
So “Therapy” can cover a couple of very distinct needs. “Traditional Therapy” is for what insurance would call medically necessary deficits that a causing distress in our lives. “Life coaching” is for when we are doing ok, but need a bit more polishing to move through life with greater ease.
Once you identify what you are looking to get out of meeting with a counselor, we need find some who specializes in that area, and you have to have a connection with them. I make that a point because if you do not click with your therapist, it just will not go well. Meet a few and see whom you like and feel you can work with.
If you have insurance, and want to use it, go to their website and pull a list of Counselors close to work or home. Same goes for paying out of pocket or with a sliding scale. Making a convenient choice will make you much more likely to stick with it. There is also the Virtual Option, which makes life a whole lot easier. But connection with your counselor or therapist is a must.
Finally there are a number of Therapy Provider Finders you can use to find someone close.
Once you settle on a list, start calling and take a few minutes on the phone to see if you can feel them out for a good fit. Just take your time and do not give up, it can be a difficult task, but well worth it in the end.
I hope this helps ease the process of you. If you have a need, or just want to explore therapy, reach out and connect.