Five Tips on Starting Therapy

Are you thinking about starting therapy? Here are some tips to beginning the process:

1)  Find a therapist who is a good fit. It may take time to find someone who you feel comfortable with. Sometimes you can get a sense of compatibility on the phone before setting up a session. If you start with a therapist who you don’t connect with, it’s okay to move on and begin working with someone else.

2)  Pick your orientation. There are many different styles and approaches to therapy. If you’ve been in therapy before, think about what therapeutic orientations have worked in the past. If you’ve never been in therapy before, it could be helpful to do some research about what options are out there.

3)  Try to attend therapy once a week.  Progress usually happens more quickly when you come more often.

4)  Set goals. These goals can be concrete or opened ended, but they provide structure in therapy and can be a great baseline to measure progress over time.  Goals also can change and morph throughout the therapy process.

5)  Know that therapy is a process, not an event.  Sometimes therapy can bring up topics and emotions that are unexpected, which can feel unsettling at first.  Big changes usually do not happen overnight and it might take a while to feel better.

Five Reasons to Start Therapy

Starting therapy can take a lot of courage. It can be challenging to open up to a stranger and to know where to begin. But often, reaching out for help from a therapist can be the first step towards feeling better. Here are some indicators that therapy could be helpful in your life:

1)  When you’ve been trying on your own, but things aren’t getting any better.  Sometimes situations are too overwhelming to deal with on your own.  If ways you’ve helped yourself in the past aren’t working, it may be an opportunity to learn new tools.

2)  When you feel unable to talk to friends or family. It’s can be rewarding to lean on loved ones for support, but there are some issues that you may not feel comfortable sharing with them. It can be helpful to work with someone neutral, who can give feedback and support objectively.

3)  When you are ready to work hard and make changes.  Modifying patterns in relationships, revisiting past experiences and shifting old ways of thinking can be incredibly challenging. Therapy takes work, but can lead to transformative results.

4)  When you feel stuck. Do you ever find yourself repeating unwanted patterns in your life? It can be difficult to find ways to cope and change thoughts and behavior, especially when you don’t know why those patterns exist. Therapists can be guides in this process.

5)  When you’re going through a transition. It may be a great time for you to get to know yourself better and to get additional support to deal with changes in your life.

Beginning therapy can feel vulnerable. But even though asking for help can be hard, it can be relieving to know that you don’t have to figure it out all by yourself.