Let's face it, we all get a case of the blues every now and then, but sometimes the usual stress reliever doesn't work and we need something a little more substantial, like therapy.
But finding a therapist can be a daunting experience.
Therapy as a whole can leave you feeling vulnerable, and feeling safe becomes a big determining factor. Not all therapists are alike. For instance, some may specialize in different fields, others may have a different approach to the therapy process, and price may also play a part. When choosing a therapist, it's good to know what to expect before booking that appointment.
Understand your therapy needs
You're not going to see a podiatrist for your dental issues, and you should approach therapy the same way. Sure, there's overlap and sometimes it's hard to determine the root cause of any mental discomfort you may experience, which may lead you to seek more general help. If you're already familiar with the type of therapy you'd like to try, these are a few options to consider:
- Psychoanalytic therapy: This is the top of therapy we typically see depicted in the movies, where the patient is doing all the talking and the therapist listens, takes notes, and makes observations. This Freudian style of therapy is also referred to as talk therapy and may be helpful to those who need guidance with depression, anxiety, and self-esteem problems.
- Behavior therapy: With this type of therapy, therapists can harness a number of methods to help their patients work through maladaptive responses to everyday situations. For instance, unlearning certain bad or harmful habits.
- Acceptance and commitment therapy: If you've ever found yourself binging that whole bag of Oreos and then having guilt for two weeks straight, this kind of therapy can bring much-needed peace. It's aimed at addressing behavioral quirks that leave you feeling ashamed and guilty. It works at facing the problem instead of running for the hills. Conditions such as OCD, addiction, and anxiety may benefit from this type of therapy.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: There are many stressors that can cause us to react badly to situations, but if you find yourself unable to respond to spontaneous or stressful situations rationally, this type of therapy might be a good place to start. This is particularly helpful to those who have experienced trauma, suffer from PTSD, or live with chronic pain.
Search for your ideal fit
There are several trusted places you can go to for solid referrals such as trusted friends or relatives, religious leaders, or your family doctor. If you have a specific reason for seeing a therapist, there might be an overseeing body that can recommend a therapist in your area, for instance, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Grief in Common.
If you're not comfortable asking for a referral, you can also do an online search for therapists in your area. At this point, you may also decide that in-person sessions don't seem like a viable option. There are several therapy groups that offer online or telephonic counseling.
Determine your price point
Not everyone is getting the therapy they need, and for 39% of Americans, that's because they find therapy too expensive. Ways you can prepare yourself financially when you're ready to go for therapy, include:
- Create a budget for therapy: Therapy sessions can cost anywhere from $80 to $300 per session. Build up savings until you have enough to cover around twelve sessions. While three to six sessions may be enough, you'll want that little bit extra just to be sure.
- Find out how much your provider covers: Some full cover options will cover the total costs of therapy, up to a certain number of sessions. Others may only cover therapists listed on their provider list, while some providers don't cover the costs at all.
Preparing for your first therapy session
Your first therapy session might leave you feeling apprehensive and possibly even scared, but there are ways to calm those nerves before going for the session.
- Make notes: It's important to make notes of what you're hoping to achieve during the session and this includes the questions and topics. If you have a specific traumatic event you need to talk about, that's what you would lead with. Once you're in the session, you might feel overwhelmed and go blank, but if you have your notes to refer to, you can stay on track.
- Manage your expectations: Your session might leave you feeling a bit worse for the wear and that's because you have to reveal facets about your life you'd rather keep safely tucked away. It can be physically draining to be vulnerable. It's also important to know that it might take several sessions before you experience any relief or breakthrough.
- Do your research: Know who it is you're dealing with, what their credentials are, and whether you'd be comfortable talking to them.
- Know you're not stuck: It takes a lot of pressure off the first appointment by knowing if you're not happy with the direction of the sessions, you can leave. You're also not obligated to continue your therapy with a therapist if you feel too uncomfortable. In general, it is important to know though that if it is your first ever session, chances are you will walk out of it feeling worse than you did before. This is very common. Give your therapist a few sessions before you decide to switch. The most important thing is to stick to it!
Understanding what your therapist might want to talk about
Therapy is a process where your therapist will try and help you unravel your emotional or mental knots. While they may untie some of these knots for you, they will eventually equip you with the tools to untie these knots yourself. In order for this to work, you may need to reveal more about yourself than you realize. Topics that often come up during therapy sessions include:
- Your relationships
- Your childhood
- Past and current traumas
- Things you've been avoiding
- Your thoughts on certain topics
- Behavioral questions
Save money even in therapy
Reach out and let us know how you saved money with your therapy sessions, whether you used a wellness voucher or saved on therapy materials. Save has a handy Coupon Book Finder that can find coupons on just about anything. For those in-between moments, you can boost your mental well-being with nutritious meals, exercise, and keeping in touch with loved ones.