So, you’ve tried journaling and meditation, and every self-care act in the book, but you still have an underlying feeling of negativity. Something just doesn’t feel right about your life. Well, my friend, it might be time to consider therapy.
Your mental health is important! For years, there have been stigmas surrounding mental health and going to therapy, but we’re here to break those stigmas. Your emotions are valid and you’re allowed to ask for help. You don’t win a prize for bottling all your problems up, so why act like you’re fine when you really aren’t? There is no shame in finding a place for you to heal.
You, the one reading this, are a beautiful individual that’s doing the best you can and I applaud you for showing up every day for yourself. Perhaps you’ve been invalidated time and time again and are looking for someone to tell you that your problems are real. Maybe you live with toxic people that constantly belittle you. Maybe you’re stressed out and you hate your lifestyle. Whatever your situation is, whether it’s small stressors to extreme depression, it can be tough to handle. What I want for you is to feel supported in your life. Having a therapist might be the best way to go.
Therapy is not a place where a professional tells you what to do and they do not solve your problems for you! It’s a beautiful practice where they work with you and guide you through your own thoughts so you can discover what works best. There’s so much room for you to grow as a person. Sometimes, you just might need a little guidance.
Reasons to go to therapy:
There are infinite amounts of reasons to go to therapy! No matter what phase of your life you’re going through, whether it’s good or bad, you can always benefit from taking care of yourself. Your brain is an organ just like any other in your body and needs just as much love and attention. Therapists are happy to help you take care of your mind, help you through rough patches or even teach you to get in the right frame of mind to ask your boss for a promotion. Let’s dive into a few of the reasons therapy is beneficial…
- Stress management
- College can be really overwhelming. With so much to balance, sleep deprivation and tears are the norms and it’s not okay! Therapy can help us navigate through those stressors and teach us to handle our lives better. Maybe you’ll learn stress management techniques like journaling and breathing, or maybe you’ll learn that you’ve been overworking yourself to avoid your deeper problems and you can learn to unpack those. It doesn’t matter what the causes of your stress are. A therapist can teach you to find the stress relief you need.
- Have someone to listen to you without them openly judging
- Have you ever vented to a friend and gotten unsolicited advice, felt unheard, or been invalidated? These situations leave us feeling lonely, but with a therapist, they’re always there to listen to you and validate what you’re feeling. You are welcome to feel whatever you need to and let your heart run free.
- Work through resentments
- Sometimes, you have moments from your past that you can’t seem to let go of, no matter how big or small may seem. Maybe you resent an ex you had or maybe you resent that girl from high school who always made fun of you. Resentments can be anything. In therapy, you can learn how these resentments have affected your life and learn to let them go. There’s no timeline to releasing these negative emotions! Your therapist will support your journey, no matter how much time you need.
- Work through trauma
- Maybe you’ve experienced something horrible in your life like assault, an accident, abuse, or any other tragic situation. Just know, you are brave and you are loved. Trauma is painful, but you don’t have to struggle alone. A therapist can help you work through the trauma and give you a safe space to feel what you need to feel as you start on your healing journey.
- Personal growth and self-discovery
- Do you ever feel like you go through phases where you don’t feel like yourself? Or maybe you know you’re destined for greater things but can’t seem to make progress? Therapy can help you figure out why you feel you’ve lost your spark and give you tools to find yourself again.
- Handling toxic people/environments that you can’t cut out from your life
- Sometimes, you’re stuck with toxic people, like family members, or are forced into a toxic work environment you can’t find our way out of. Working with toxic people is beyond difficult, but therapists can help find techniques that will help you skillfully communicate in these situations to minimize their negative impact.
- Unlearn old habits and toxic beliefs so you have the space to learn better habits
- As you transition into adulthood, you’re becoming more independent and you have the option to shed old beliefs. These tend to be unconscious core beliefs that were formed around your families and friends as you grew up. Now is the time to claim your life and be your own person! It’s not always easy to detect these unconscious agreements you have with yourself. Therapists can help you find what no longer serves you and help you reframe your mindset so you can grow into the best version of yourself.
Signs you may want to consider therapy
- Your stress is affecting the way you live your day to day life and is negatively impacting your physical health
- You have trouble sleeping or sleep too much
- You feel sad, worried, angry, or any other negative emotions most of the time
- You cry frequently
- You haven’t felt like yourself in a while
- You go through low periods and consider getting help, but then you have a few days where you feel really good so you don’t think you need help anymore
- You feel no one understands you
- You can sense something is wrong with your life, but can’t figure out what it is
- You’ve suffered great loss or trauma
- You dismiss your own emotions to minimize your pain
- You feel stuck
- You complain frequently and your loved ones no longer seem interested
How to find the best option for you:
- There are plenty of therapists that offer virtual therapy! Whether it’s on the phone or over a video call, you can do your sessions from anywhere you have cell service.
- Through your school
- Many universities offer mental health services that are included in your tuition. If you aren’t sure about therapy, this free option is a great way to get a feel for what it’s like!
- Face to face
- Join your therapist in their office where they have welcoming comfy chairs and tissue boxes at the ready for you. There’s nothing more personal than being in the presence of another human being that genuinely cares about your life.
- Talkspace, Better Help, or other online 24/7 therapies
- Online therapies are on the rise! Although many of these don’t take insurance so you’d have to pay out of pocket, you’ll have access to your therapists over text and video calls 24/7. With these platforms, you no longer have to wait once a week to get your therapy sessions.
- Group Therapy
- Some therapists offer group sessions where you and several other individuals gather around to talk about what’s going on in your lives. It’s a great experience to meet other people who can relate to you or even just support you.
How to find the right therapist
- Contact your insurance
- First thing is to contact your insurance provider and get a list of who’s in your network. You can either go on your insurance’s website or give them a call and they’d be happy to email you a list.
- List traits you want in a therapist
- Make a list of things you’re looking for in a therapist. Would you prefer to talk to someone who is younger or more grandparent like? Would you feel more comfortable talking to a male or female? Are you hoping to find someone who has an intensive focus on a certain problem you’re having? Are you hoping they know lots of mindfulness techniques or perhaps cognitive behavioral therapy? There are so many different styles of therapy and each therapist does their practice in a different way. You may not know all the traits you’re looking for, but having some sort of list helps narrow down your options.
- Research therapists based on your lists
- Type their names into Google and see what pops up. Lots of these therapists have professional pages set up that include their style, their expertise, and a little bio so you can get a feel for who they are. If you see something that catches your eye, make note of it!
- Interview your chosen therapists
- Once your list is narrowed down, call some therapists up and ask for a consultation! You won’t always find your perfect therapist right off the bat, but once you start talking to a few and getting to know them, you’ll probably find someone you vibe with.
- Feel free to change therapists
- If you start working with one therapist but aren’t getting much out of your sessions, you’re always welcome to start your search again. Therapists want you to get better and understand that everyone is different. There are no hard feelings if you need to switch things up! Do what works best for you.
Signs your therapist might not be a good match
I really hope you find someone that helps you dive deep into your soul and helps you elevate your life, but your perfect match might not come to you right away. It’s perfectly natural if you don’t vibe with your therapist, but there are some red flags that mean it’s time to move on.
- You feel invalidated
- You get a weird vibe
- You feel uncomfortable opening up or feel judged
- You feel you don’t get to talk enough
- They’re not open to feedback
- You feel talked down to or talked at
- There’s a sexual interest
My hope for you is now that you have all this information, you’ll be able to find the best form of therapy for you. Anyone and everyone can benefit from therapy, and there’s a perfect therapist waiting for you somewhere. You’re brave for wanting to improve your life! Whether you choose to stay in therapy for weeks, years, or even start researching therapeutic techniques at home, you should be proud of all the effort you’ve put in.