How to Find Your First Therapist

It’s only becoming more apparent how integral taking care of our emotional and mental health is for our overall health. Just as our physical health can add difficulty or positivity to our lives, our mental health can help or hurt us.

One of the most critical steps in improving and protecting our mental health is finding a therapist. The right therapist can be instrumental in helping you address the important aspects of your life, from becoming more secure with yourself to working through past traumas.

A therapist is ultimately a healthcare provider, and while there is a lot of overlap in how you search for the right provider for you, there are also some unique aspects to consider when you find a therapist. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Availability: Make sure your therapist will have a schedule available that fits your needs. Therapy isn’t like fasting—intermittent sessions won’t work as well as consistent visits. Confirm that your therapist can offer the availability you’ll need.
  2. Payment: The hardest part of therapy is the difficulty finding affordable therapy and figuring out which therapist is covered by your insurance. Search for a provider that accepts your insurance, or if you’re uninsured, look for therapists that work on a sliding pay scale; some therapists offer low-cost services to those who pay out of pocket. While there is a bit of research involved here, once you settle on a therapist, you won’t have to worry about this step unless something changes.
  3. Your Needs: There are many approaches to therapy, and the various therapists you consider may all specialize in different theories and different populations. Some therapists specialize in psychoanalysis, and others provide CBT. (etc). Consider what your needs are and what your goals for therapy are when choosing a therapist—knowing this will help you decide which therapist can best help you address those needs and goals.
  4. References: If possible, search your prospective therapist online and look for any reviews or credentials they might have. This background knowledge can help provide you with extra information to make the most informed decision possible.

Finding a therapist is an important step towards taking care of your emotional and mental health, just as we do with our physical health. Follow these steps to make sure you’re on the path to finding the perfect therapist for you.

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