Therapy Information

Finding Therapy and First sessions

Below is a synopsis, below that are links to sites with more information.

Reasons to See a Therapist

There are many reasons why you might want to talk to a therapist. Experiencing symptoms related to a mental health condition is one major reason why people decide to see a therapist. Some reasons to talk to a therapist include:

  • Anxiety

  • ADHD

  • Behavior issues

  • Depression

  • Difficulty coping with life changes

  • Eating disorder symptoms

  • Feelings of loneliness

  • Feelings of worthlessness

  • Grief

  • Low self-esteem

  • Negative thinking

  • Problems coping with a chronic illness

  • Problems sleeping

  • Questions about sexuality or gender identity

  • Relationship issues

  • Social issues

  • Stress

  • Substance or alcohol issues

  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm

  • Trauma

However, it is important to remember that anyone who is experiencing stress or who wants to overcome an issue that might be holding them back can benefit. You don't need to wait until something is causing you significant distress or interfering with your ability to function to reach out.

What to initially ask

When you call potential therapists, have a prepared list of questions, including:

  • Are you licensed?

  • What kind of training have you received?

  • What is your specialty or area of expertise?

  • What is your treatment orientation?

  • What is the cost per session?

  • How does scheduling work?

  • Will therapy be time-limited or long-term?

It may also be helpful to "interview" a new therapist and, if you don't click, to try a new one.

Here's How to Pick a Therapist You'll Likely Work Well With

Impact of Therapists

A therapist can help people effectively make positive changes in their lives. The impact that a therapist has on your life can depend upon a range of factors including the severity of your symptoms and the type of treatment that you receive. Some ways that you might benefit from seeing a therapist include:

  • Adopting habits that may lead to better physical and mental health

  • Building a better awareness of your own thoughts and how those thoughts contribute to your behaviors

  • Exploring your actions and thoughts from a different perspective

  • Feeling supported and understood

  • Gaining greater insight into your experiences and behaviors

  • Gaining greater self-awareness

  • Improving your relationships with others

  • Learning new coping skills that will help you manage stress more effectively

  • Sharing your fear, burdens, and worries with a neutral, caring person

Just how effective is therapy? Research suggests that psychotherapy can be effective in treating mental health conditions. Compared to medications, psychotherapy has fewer side effects and lower rates of relapse once treatment is stopped.3 It can also help people develop new coping skills that can promote resilience.

What to Expect

It's normal to have doubts and fears if you have never visited a therapist before. You may wonder what to expect. A trip to the therapist is very much like a trip to the doctor.

First, you'll check in with a receptionist or just sit in the therapist's waiting area for your appointment and fill out some paperwork, including your medical history (including symptoms and current medications), insurance forms, HIPAA forms, therapist-patient services agreement, and a record release form.

During your first visit, your therapist will:

  • Ask about your symptoms and what you hope to achieve from therapy

  • Conduct an interview, known as an intake interview, which is a psychological version of a physical examination

  • Provide a treatment plan, including a diagnosis, goals of therapy, techniques to achieve those goals, and an estimate of the number of sessions needed

  • Schedule a subsequent appointment, or provide a referral to a specialist or for diagnostic testing

Treatment for Phobias

Potential Pitfalls

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the therapist-client relationship simply does not work out. Simple compatibility issues are among the most common reasons for breaking off the relationship.

Before you leave, try to work through your issues with the therapist. Sometimes issues such as transference can make you feel like leaving when, in fact, staying is the best choice. Nonetheless, divorcing your therapist need not be a painful or difficult process.

Starting Therapy – what to expect

How to start therapy – for clients

What is your therapist – Tools to help you with your first session