Thinking about starting therapy but aren’t sure where to begin? From exploring your options to finding the right therapist for you, beginning therapy can feel overwhelming — but it’s actually a lot simpler than you think. Let’s break it down.
Take stock of your mental health
Therapy is helpful at any stage of life. Whether you’re experiencing some big changes or you’re ready to deal with deep-seated emotions — therapy can guide you through. Everyone needs help from time to time, and choosing to find the support you deserve is incredibly brave.
Before diving right in, take stock of your mental health and consider what you hope to gain from therapy. Have you been dealing with prolonged feelings of sadness? Is there something particularly stressful going on in your life? Assessing your emotions will help you make the most of therapy and prepare you for the first few sessions.
Explore different types of therapy
From talk therapy and group therapy to exposure therapy and interpersonal therapy — there is a therapy option out there for everyone. Maybe you and your partner have hit some bumps in the road and want the support of couples counseling. Or maybe you’ve experienced anxiety for a while and want to try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. BetterHelp offers all these therapies and more! Plus, they can explain the differences between them and help determine the best option for you.
Finding a therapist
Arguably the most important part of therapy is finding the right therapist for you. Here are some things you may want to look for in a therapist:
- Someone who has a specific specialization (CBT, family therapy, etc.)
- Someone with a similar cultural background
- Someone with similar lived experiences
- Someone who is your preferred age or gender
Finding a therapist who understands you culturally and socially can help you connect and dig deeper in your sessions. BetterHelp takes the guesswork out of finding the perfect therapist with their therapist-matching questionnaire. They’ll help you find you an empathetic therapist who understands your situation in no time.
What to expect during your first session
Think of your first therapy session like a first date. You and your therapist are getting to know each other — you probably won’t be digging too deep just yet. Your therapist will ask you some basic questions, gauge what you want to gain from therapy, and will take notes throughout the session. Like any long-term relationship, the patient-therapist relationship is based on trust and understanding.
You may not feel 100% comfortable opening up during your first session, and that’s okay! Trust and comfort take time to develop, but if you leave your session feeling supported by your therapist and not judged, this is a sign you may be comfortable opening up to them in the future. Here are some questions you may want to ask your therapist during your first meeting:
- Have you worked with people who have a similar background to me in the past?
- What kinds of therapies do you specialize in?
- Do you give homework in between sessions?
- What methods do you use?
- What does progress look like to you, and what milestones can we set?
How do you communicate?
Online therapy platforms like BetterHelp offer multiple channels of communication. Some people prefer to have video or phone sessions, while others may prefer texting. BetterHelp offers all three methods of communication.
Online therapy is especially helpful for people with busy schedules and may have better results than face-to-face therapy. According to a recent study, ninety-six percent of people using online therapy reported feeling a personal connection with their online therapists, as opposed to 91 percent who had face-to-face therapy.
Plus, online therapy gives you more access to support than ever before. BetterHelp allows you to correspond with your therapist between sessions so that you get support when you need it. And, their online platform makes scheduling a breeze, allowing you to decide the times that work best for your schedule. You’ll be able to see your therapist from the comfort of your couch at an affordable, flat rate.
Starting therapy is simple with BetterHelp. With therapist-matching, customized communication preferences, and live sessions whenever you need them, BetterHelp is here to help. And now, Ovia members get 20% off the first month!
This content was provided by our paid sponsor BetterHelp and does not reflect the views, opinions, or voice of Ovia Health.