A word that has become a big part of my vocabulary for almost 3 years now.
Growing up, therapy wasn’t spoken about, so I declined when it was presented to me. Often told, “take your problems to God,” I viewed therapy as if I were saying, “God wasn’t enough” now, I view therapy as a tool to help navigate what God has already said to be true.
Initially, when searching for a therapist, I didn’t have any filters. The fact that I was open to making an appointment was a big enough step for me.
Telling myself they are all the same, right? I’m going to lay on a chaise lounge and tell them all of my childhood memories, teenage regrets, and adult struggles, cry my heart out, and VOILA.
However, my first experience was far from that. I had two sessions. We talked, but I didn’t feel comfortable opening up. After the second session, I wasn’t sure if it was my high expectations or lack of patience, but our vibe felt forced. So back to the drawing board.
Shortly after, I found another therapist, and she felt like home meets happy hour. She was like a homegirl I could tell the truth to with no filter, with the compassion of a mother and the wisdom of a grandmother. Since our initial session, I’ve noticed a change, I’m still a work in progress, but there is progression.
Not having a trusted guide when I first set out on this journey, I now have picked up a few tips along the way. Which I share below:
If you are considering therapy, first, let me say that’s amazing!
- Insurance – Consult your provider directly; they can provide a list of in-network therapists. Also, answer additional questions, such as co-pay, how many sessions are covered, and are all mental health professionals covered?
- Gender, Ethnicity, and Age – These can play a significant role depending on your comfortability. Relatability can be substantial.
- Religion – When given references and tools, religion can play a factor.
- In-Person/Virtual – Initially, I started off in person; since the pandemic, I have switched to virtual. There are pros and cons to both. For me being a SAHM it allows my schedule to be more flexible.
- How many years they have been in practice – This can be important when referencing from experience.
- Keep a notepad near: If something comes up, it’s good to jot it down, so you can share and work through that during your session.
- What is your purpose/goal; that way, you can search for someone who specializes in that area. However, it might change as the sessions continue, but it gives a good starting point.
- Many therapists offer a consultation; it’s a great way to see if you have a good flow and have them answer any questions you may have.
- Also, have a general email that you can send out. That way, it helps control your connection with each therapist you reach out to as you determine who works best for you.
After finding my perfect therapist, we saw each other for almost 2 years, and now I’m seeing someone else. I say that to let you know it’s okay growth happens, and seasons change. I’m grateful for the things I covered with my previous therapist because she opened my eyes a lot, and now I’m more comfortable and precise on what areas I need to work on moving forward. Peace and Blessings on the journey to a healthier version of you.