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First Steps of Therapy


Therapy. It can be a daunting word. The idea of reaching out and making a connection with a therapist is scary. Especially for you or a loved one who has never before met with a mental health professional, there is a lot of unknown as you try to navigate the first steps to building a better you.

Just searching for “therapy near me” on Google can lead to an overwhelming amount of search results.

This begs the question, “How do I know what I want or need from a therapist?

As you begin you search for the best fitting therapist, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I feel is most important to address with therapy? Taking time to reflect on what you feel is your primary concern can help you identify a therapist who is best trained to help you.

  • Do I want a therapist of a certain gender, race, religion, or culture, etc.? This is your care; you are empowered to seek therapy with a provider you feel most comfortable with.

  • Do I want to meet with a therapist in person or via telehealth? For many, in-person offers a connection greater than they feel with video sessions. However, others enjoy the convenience of video meetings as well as the increased options of providers within the state.

“I’ve started searching, but no one is accepting my insurance, what do I do now?

Regrettably, insurance is confusing and messy for everyone. If you find yourself running into blockades due to your insurance coverage, there may be a couple of other options to help you find a provider:

  • Call your insurance: Yes, calling insurance companies does take quite a bit of time but many companies have staff to help their members find providers who are in network with their insurance.

  • Therapists Directories: Many directories such as Psychology Today, Therapy Den, Therapy for Black Girls etc., allow for additional search filters including what insurances are accepted. (These are generally more up to date than insurance directories!)

  • Consider telehealth options: It is completely understandable to have your heart set on in person meetings, however being open to telehealth meetings allows you to search for in-network providers within your entire state instead of a local driving area.

“What can I expect during my first session?”

  • Introductions: Expect a few minutes of general introductions to set the tone for the remainder of your first session

  • Information Gathering: This sounds bland, but therapists want to get a thorough understanding of your greatest needs. They will ask questions about past and current events that might not have been detailed on your intake forms.

  • Goal/Action Planning: A therapist may ask you to consider what your goals are with therapy or related actions. Once decided, how will you make this happen?

“What if I don’t feel it’s a good fit?”

Let’s say you meet with your first therapist, and you feel it is just not a good fit. That is totally Ok! This is not as uncommon as you might think. But, what next?

  • What did or did not work with this therapist?:Consider things such as personality, age, and experience

  • Availability: What is my availability to meet with a therapist long term? Are both schedules a match?

  • Asking for another therapist: Most therapy practices will actively work to match you with another therapist within that practice who may be a better fit for.

We are all here for you! A quick call or email to an office and someone will help you as soon as possible.

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