If you have never been to therapy before or if you’ve had a bad first experience with it, therapy can be intimidating and even scary. Because of stigmas, it can be difficult to accept that you are struggling and in need of help, but, once you do, it can be even difficult to figure out what kind of help you need. Therapy can be fantastic starting point into mental health treatment and is a useful tool for everyone.
The biggest point that I try to drive home when asked for advice on finding a therapist is this: it is essential to find a therapist that you connect with, even if it takes you several tries. You may find a therapist that you connect with immediately; however, if your first session does not go well, I encourage you to keep seeing therapists until you find one that works for you. For me, I have seen five therapist, including my current one, and I have been lucky to connect well with three of them. It was extremely difficult to have bad experiences with my first two therapists but it was so worth the troubles.
When finding a therapist, there are lots of resources that you can use. For finding my most recent therapists and psychiatrist, I used the local resources listed on To Write Love On Her Arm’s site here. If you live in a major city, this source could be very helpful for identifying mental health resources and support groups in your area. Psychology Today also has a search tool that allows you to search for therapists, psychiatrists and support groups. You can refine your search by zip code, which makes this a better resource if you live anywhere outside of major cities. If you wish to find a mental health professional that is covered by your insurance, the insurance website will have a search engine that will allow you to search for professionals in your area that accept that insurance. If you’re on the road, it is important to discuss with a new therapist about the possibility of having sessions while you are out of town. With the rise of skype and facetime, there are definitely options for continuing therapy sessions while on tour. If this does not work for you, finding support groups in each city on tour can be a viable option.
It is also important to note that therapy is not a cure nor is it an immediate solution. Therapy is a long process and can be very emotionally draining at times, especially at the beginning. Your sessions are a safe space for you to feel and discuss emotions that you may not feel comfortable enough to confront outside of the therapy office, and feeling so many unfamiliar emotions at onces can be a bit exhausting. However, through the process, you learn to become more comfortable with these emotions and learn to understand where they are coming from. You will build a toolbox of knowledge and resources that you will draw from when you find yourself in an emotional state.
Therapy is a great tool that I think everyone should experience at some point in their life. If you’re nervous or scared to get help, that is okay. It can be a scary and nerve wracking process, but the growth and understanding that you can gain through therapy is absolutely worth it. Reach out. Give yourself time to find the right therapist. It will be worth it.