I’m (obviously) a big proponent of therapy.
You don’t have to go every week. You don’t even have to go every month. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a go-to person you can dial up when things start to get a little sideways in life? To me, that’s what having a therapist is all about. They’re someone who knows your story, understands you, and is there to help guide you whenever you need a little extra support.
But people are still wary when it comes to scheduling an appointment. They often wonder if their problems are “big enough” to go to counseling. They talk themselves out of making that first appointment because they don’t feel like their problems qualify. Does that sound like you? I’m here to tell you there is absolutely no criteria you need to meet before making an appointment with a therapist. If you feel like you could use a little extra support (and we all could), then make the appointment.
Even therapists go to therapy! I have a therapist. Many of my colleagues have therapists. It doesn’t mean we’re “crazy” or incapable of helping others. In fact, I’d say it suggests just the opposite. I think it’s a good indicator of the quality of your therapist if they’re taking the time to practice what they preach!
Here’s what to look for in a therapy practice.
Now, you’ll have to do some research before making an appointment. Not all therapy practices are created equal and there are still those that focus on the quantity of clients they see rather than providing good, quality care. Unfortunately, you can’t rely on 5 star ratings or good reviews for this one either (leaving reviews for therapists is discouraged as it breeches confidentiality). But you can go to the practice website and take a look around. If they have a ton of therapists on staff, just know that you may not receive the intimate care you’re searching for. If you’re hoping to use insurance, the website is a good place to see if yours is accepted. Look for practices that prioritize the client’s time, privacy, and wellbeing.
Different types of helping professionals.
I know, it can be confusing to know if you should see a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc. Let me break it down for you:
- Licensed Counselor/Therapist: This person has at least a Master’s degree and will either be licensed as an LCSW or LPC. Both licenses are credible and require similar amounts of schooling/work experience. Some call themselves therapists, some call themselves counselors – this is personal preference.
- Psychologist: This person has a PhD and holds a license as a Psychologist. They are qualified to perform psychological testing and provide therapy/counseling.
- Psychiatrist: This person has an MD and holds a medical license as a Psychiatrist. They can prescribe medication. They generally have very limited time to talk to their patients compared to counselors.
*A word about Life Coaches: Be sure to do your homework if you want to see a Life Coach. Many people are calling themselves a Life Coach these days because it’s a trendy thing to do. But many of these people do not have the training or education to back it up! Do a little background investigating to see what kind of credentials they have.
Finding a good fit.
Finding a therapist you feel comfortable with can be difficult. So many people give up after a couple of appointments because they just don’t feel like they click with their therapist. But you might have to try several different people! We all have different needs and personalities and just because your best friend recommended someone it doesn’t mean they’ll be a good fit for YOU. But don’t give up after one appointment! Think about what’s important to you in a therapist. Do you want someone who uses a holistic approach? Maybe you’d prefer someone who practices a specific technique or specializes in a certain topic? Or perhaps all you care about is that you can relate to them? There’s no right or wrong answer, but have some of these things in mind while you search! Many therapists will give you a free phone consultation to see if you’re a good fit. The Psychology Today website is also a great resource for getting a snapshot of the therapists in your area.
Here’s what I do.
I created my practice, Mind|Body Method, by focusing on how I would like to be treated as a client. I chose a boutique setting so that my clients never have to wait in a crowded waiting room for an appointment. Instead, my “waiting room” is a space that can be utilized for meditation, yoga, or just unwinding with some tea before/after a session. I ensure my clients complete privacy as I don’t overlap appointment times. I don’t accept insurance so that we can spend our time talking about what they deem important rather than focusing on mental health diagnoses and checking the boxes for insurance companies. As both a Certified Health Coach and Licensed Therapist, I focus not only on mental health but on all of the pillars of wellness (physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental, occupational).
Want to learn more? Check out my website or message me for more details!
Taking the first step and scheduling an appointment is scary, but so worth it. Get out there and start searching for your therapist today!