This can be a bit of a complex topic and the answer to this will vary amongst individuals, but in short, I believe you should consider going to therapy when you are overwhelmed with your thoughts. Your decision making might be off, your day-to-day emotional responses may be different than what they usually are, talking to your support network isn't working, and/or your usual coping mechanisms are no longer serving you. There is healing in organizing your thoughts and thinking of them in a new way. Therapy allows you to assign meaning to, and make sense of your experiences so you don't get stuck in a maladaptive mood or state that detracts you from your day-to-day experiences. With that being said, let’s talk about the typical process involved in therapy.
Therapy can run anywhere from $0 to $200+ per session. I get that cost is often a deciding factor in selecting a therapist, however, the cost of therapy is not directly related to the quality of services you may receive. A therapist who charges $50 per session can be exponentially better than a therapist who charges $200 per session.
If you have it, call your provider and find out what your mental health assistance is and what network you can use to find a mental health professional. This helps to keep you within a budget and it narrows down your selection pool. If you are a student or a professional in a progressive organization, you may have mental health services available to you on-site, generally at little to no cost. Use them.
If therapy is not covered by your insurance, be on the lookout for free community based services through schools, churches, community centers, or volunteer clinics. There are various outpatient mental health centers that may also offer sliding scale fees depending on your economic bracket.
Finding a therapist is a lot like speed dating. I’m going to be honest, you may find your therapist on the first try, or you may need to go through a couple to find a nice fit. It’s frustrating to tell your story over and over, but when you find a therapist that fits, it’s magic. Please stick with it until you find a fit. The reward is on the other side of your tangled thoughts, and it is worth it.
I recommend checking out Psychology Today and searching for therapists via your zip code. There are various filters to use for selecting a therapist: what topic you want to focus on, whether you’re looking to work with a therapist that follows a particular faith or spirituality, their gender, age…the options are endless. Take out a note card and write down who you think you’d want to sit across the room from.
Once you have a list of potential therapists, reach out. See if they’re accepting new clients and if you can arrange a consultation, or if you’re feeling it, you can even jump right into a session.
Whew. The process can be a bit overwhelming but a lot of what we fear in life ends up being worth it in the end. I hope this list is helpful to you or someone you may know. Know where you can get help locally if in fact you ever need it.