Beat the Therapy Scaries and Get Started the Right Way
Getting support for your mental health might be the best thing you do for yourself. According to studies by the American Psychological Association (APA), professional mental healthcare equips people with the skills to cope with both present and future challenges.
However, we understand if the mere thought of getting started feels overwhelming. Social stigma, financial strain, and personal fears can make getting started feel like a monstrous task.
Don’t worry, we got you. And we want you to make the most of your mental health journey - from finding the right therapist to committing to the process. Therefore, this guide will help you identify common barriers and ease the process of starting therapy.
What’s Stopping You From Getting Started?
A constellation of barriers can make therapy seem scarier than it needs to be. Before we dive into strategies, let’s lay out a couple of common hurdles we face when it comes to making that first appointment:
There’s a notion that people struggling mentally are weak, crazy, and emotionally turbulent. These ideas are often blown out of proportion thanks to the public, media, and sometimes even our own family. And it is this stigma that creates more anxiety in those already struggling, further demotivating them to seek help.
Worries about being judged, misunderstood, or “failing at therapy” keep many people from taking the first step. These concerns may arise from negative expectations and beliefs about seeking help. Without awareness, these fears can outweigh the benefits of seeking treatment.
It’s hard to make mental health a priority when you’re out of work, uninsured, or in an economic recession. And therapy can indeed be costly. But assessing where we’re at and being realistic with our finances can help us explore more affordable options of care.
How To Get Started With Therapy
Simmer down the internalized stigma
We can’t control the naysayers and stigma that exists in the world. But we can control how much of it we internalize. Sometimes, the voices outside may lead us to mistakenly believe our condition is a sign of personal weakness.
We have the power to reverse our own unhelpful beliefs. Reclaiming agency, educating yourself about your condition, and reaching out are amazing things you can do. As you begin this journey, you grow your self-esteem, reduce destructive self-talk, and inspire others to do the same.
Assess your finances and options
If money is tight, consider services from local universities or organizations with psychologist trainees who offer services at a cheaper rate. If you have health insurance, your provider’s website may include a directory of therapists that accept your insurance.
Alternatively, therapists with a sliding-scale payment plan assess your income details to determine the cost of your sessions. The proliferation of online services and therapy apps like ThoughtFullChat also makes access to a therapist possible at a fixed monthly rate.
Determine your needs
People seek therapy for many reasons. Some want to decipher trauma, untangle emotional challenges, work on relationship issues, or even just improve self-awareness. Figuring out your current needs paints a clearer picture of what you want to get out of therapy.
If you aren’t sure yet, and just want someone to talk to, that’s cool too! Start off by writing down what nudged you to consider therapy in the first place. You can then show this list to your therapist and they will guide you through the goal-setting process.
Choosing the right therapist
As you look for a therapist, ask about their specialties, qualifications, and experience. Depending on what you’re most comfortable with, you may want to take into account their gender, cultural background, and religious beliefs.
There’s no one-size-fits-all. Most importantly, they need to be someone you can trust. You also need to feel confident in their ability to help you. And even if the first person you find ends up not working out, don’t give up. It’s totally okay to look or request for a new therapist.
Don’t rush the process
Mental healthcare isn’t a quick fix nor will it cure all your problems within one session. There may be insightful and serendipitous moments where you feel on top of the world. There will also be times when you leave the session feeling distraught and tempted to quit - especially when you’re working through tough emotions that you’ve denied for years.
Be patient with yourself and the process. Bad days are part of the journey. Though, if the overwhelm feels a bit too much, inform your therapist. They will be more than happy to support you and provide you with the necessary resources to cope.
Read Other Therapy Related Resources:
- What To Expect Before, During, and After Therapy?
- Beat the Therapy Scaries and Get Started the Right Way
Embarking on your mental health journey and going to therapy takes tremendous courage. Your mental health accolades deserve to be celebrated like the other milestones in your life. From giving yourself that permission to making that first appointment, you’ve already overcome huge barriers. Don’t give up on yourself, and you will inspire others to do the same 💪
We’re Here to Help!
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