How To Start Therapy

If the mere thought of trying to find help seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. Plenty of people put off seeking treatment or try to ignore symptoms because mental health is often easier to brush off as not urgent.

On top of that, the process of researching and scheduling that first appointment can be an emotional burden on its own — but procrastinating often allows the problem to grow. If you wait until things get really bad, the harder it will be to address.


We’ve got four tips to help you make therapy work for you. Be sure to listen to the Life Kit episode “How To Start Therapy” for more advice from experts who know that this is more than just making a phone call. If it were that easy, you’d have done it already!

1. Acknowledge stigmas that might be holding you back from seeking help.

The fear of being stigmatized can keep us from seeking treatment. Our attitudes about mental health likely come from family, friends, society at large, the media — and even our own inner voices.

2. Find the right therapist — or type of therapy — for you.

Start by making a list of potential therapists. If you have medical coverage, your insurance company can help make that list for you. Ask the company for some nearby professionals who take your insurance.

Once you’ve identified a few potential therapists, reach out. Come up with some starter questions to ask when you interview them over the phone. What experience do they have working with your issue or community? How does a typical session with them work? Do their available hours match yours?

Asking questions before a visit can help you know what to expect.

3. It’s OK to move on to a different therapist, or kind of therapy, altogether.

If your current therapist doesn’t feel like a good fit, it’s fine to “break up” with the person.

“You want to make sure you find somebody who actually feels like they get you,” says Joy Harden Bradford, Ph.D., host of the podcast Therapy for Black Girls. “It’s OK to say, ‘Hey, I think I may need something else’ and to try to find another therapist who’s going to be a better fit for you.”

4. If you’re comfortable with it, talk about therapy with others.

If you’re already in therapy, and you feel comfortable, be open about it.

John Kim, also known as The Angry Therapist, says he found an online following when he opened up about his divorce and his own mental health treatment.

“I would share … all the revelations I’m having about myself,” says Kim. “And how much that’s helping my relationships at work, at home … and all of that happened because of me starting therapy.”

Excerpted from “How To Start Therapy,” an article adapted from an NPR Life Kit podcast. You can listen to this podcast episode, hosted by Lauren Hodges:

Source: NPR | How To Start Therapy, | © 2020 npr

Do you need someone to talk to? CHC can help.  We invite you to call or email our Care Coordinators at 650.688.3625 or to set up a free 30-minute consultation.

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