How do I find the right therapist?
Meet with at least 2-3 people. You want to pick a therapist that feels present, attentive, and interested in you, without being controlling or demanding. You should never feel the therapist is asking you to take care of them, or that you are required to make them feel comfortable. “Fit” is the most important thing, over and above any particular training or clinical orientation. The website Good Therapy has a great article on How to Choose a Therapist.
Do I need therapy?
Taking responsibility for your own well being is the most courageous thing you can do, regardless of where the difficulty stems from. Therapy is about knowing yourself better, and addressing things you have set aside or deep down, so that you can be more freely yourself. I can’t think of many people who could not use a bit of that.
What does a session look like?
Sessions last 50 minutes unless other arrangements have been made. Each therapist/client combination is unique, there is no “template” or formula. Within a few meetings, we’ll have a sense of the pacing and approach that is right for you.
Where would I start?
When you are overwhelmed, or have been working on your own or through other avenues to address something, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s normal, and can be sorted out when you come in. I often check in with people to make sure we are headed in the right direction, and that they feel I am understanding what’s important to them.
Do I have to stop (drinking, being in this relationship, cutting or any other harmful activity)?
No. I understand these situations as efforts at coping or doing the best you can with a complex set of circumstances. “Abstinence” is not required to begin therapy nor is it an automatic goal. We’ll work to address the needs this action fills, and whether there are ways to meet those needs that take less of a toll on you. When safety is at risk, we’ll develop a plan that is necessary to prevent serious self harm.
What if I don’t want to change?
You don’t have to! Therapy is never about taking things away, but rather about adding something new to the menu or the playbook, that you can try out if it seems appealing. You always have the old way available.
Some more great tips from GoodTherapy.org: 12 Tips for Clients Considering Therapy