What Is Therapy?
Should I go to therapy?
What’s the first step in looking for a therapist?
Can I help a loved one find a therapist?
Watching a loved one struggle with mental health challenges can be painful and trigger feelings of helplessness. But while the choice to pursue therapy will be, in a large number of cases, solely up to the individual, it is possible for concerned others to offer emotional support as well as concrete assistance. This can mean connecting them with educational resources about therapy, helping them identify potential clinicians in their area, setting up appointments, or providing transportation to their first session.
What type of therapy is right for me?
Many types of therapy have been shown to be effective at treating common mental health challenges, and determining which approach is “best” for a particular person often comes down to their particular concerns, the alliance they’re able to form with their therapist, and their personal preferences. Clients who are coming to therapy with specific mental health concerns—such as obsessive compulsive disorder or post-traumatic stress—may benefit most from a clinician who specializes in the area or who employs a type of therapy specifically designed to treat it, while those seeking help with relationship or family problems may benefit from marriage and family therapy.
Will I be able to afford therapy?
The cost of therapy, and whether it can fit into a client’s budget, will likely depend on a few factors, including the individual’s insurance coverage, their location, and their income. While some therapists charge a set fee per session, others offer a sliding scale based on clients’ income. In many locations, low- or no-cost therapy is available for low-income clients, often through universities or other therapist training programs. Prospective clients should verify their insurance coverage, along with the therapist’s fee structure, before setting up an appointment.
What will the first session of therapy be like?
The first session of therapy can be anxiety-provoking, and it’s normal to feel nervous or unsure of what to expect. Luckily, most patients will find that the first session of therapy follows a predictable format. Most therapists spend the first session asking general questions to get a sense of the client’s background, their past experience with therapy, and what issues they’re hoping to address. They will also likely discuss their own modality or style and offer an outline of what the client can expect. Logistical details, such as verifying insurance coverage and setting up a payment schedule, may happen in the first session as well.
Will I receive medication if I go to therapy?
Medication is often used in conjunction with psychotherapy—particularly for cases of severe depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder—but it’s not a given for every client. If a therapist thinks a particular client could benefit from medication, he or she will discuss it with the client before referring him or her to a prescribing professional such as a psychiatrist or nurse practitioner. While the client will likely need to attend periodic meetings with the prescribing professional to discuss any side effects and dosage adjustments, they will also continue to see the therapist to build coping skills and strategies to further support their mental health.
What are the red flags of an unqualified or unethical therapist?
When does therapy end?
Therapy typically ends when the client feels they have achieved their goals or when they feel they are no longer making progress; in some cases, logistical issues, such as changing insurance coverage, necessitate the end of therapy. Alternatively, it is possible for a therapist to determine that they are not the best practitioner to aid a particular client. When this occurs, the therapist will typically refer the client to another provider, where they can continue work if they so choose.