What is THERAPY?
Talk therapy is a form of therapeutic interaction in which one is cared for by a trained professional. Whether you are wanting to explore issues on your own in individual therapy, address concerns with your partner in couples therapy, or include the kids in family therapy; there is a therapist who can help. Process current stressors, learn new coping skills, improve your well-being, or work on a number of other personal goals. Therapy can be the perfect place to challenge yourself, increase your self-esteem, and develop a greater sense of self-awareness. It can be a safe place for couples to learn how to listen to each other, remember what originally brought them together, or end amicably with the help of a third party. Families can also benefit from therapy by learning how to process loss, improve communication, and develop skills to work as a team.
Who is the right therapist for me?
Consider consulting perspective therapists. You will potentially reveal a lot of yourself to this person. Make sure you feel comfortable and connected. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about his/her qualifications, especially when certain specialties require thorough training. Beyond that, here are some steps to keep in minding when searching for the right therapist:
Step One: Consider what you want to gain from the therapeutic process. What issues do you want to address? How long are you looking to attend therapy?
Step Two: Imagine what you want from a therapist. Do you want to work with a therapist who has experience working with a particular population (i.e. kids, teens, adults, couples, etc.)? Is it important that your therapist have training in a particular specialty (i.e. play therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, sex therapy, etc.)? Do you want someone who can challenge you directly, take an active role, assign homework, or simply listen? I wouldn’t get too hung up on the gender or life experiences of the particular therapist. Though you might want to work with a female therapist, a male therapist may be exactly what you need.
Step Three: Remember that you deserve to be respected. Find a therapist who is nonjudgmental, a wonderful listener, and someone who genuinely cares.
Step Four: Communicate everything you have learned from the previous steps to your therapist. Find out if your therapist can meet your needs. Decide if you’re willing to make any sacrifices or negotiate.
Step Five: Don’t be afraid to revisit previous steps at any point of therapy. Over time, your needs may evolve and your presenting issue might change. Practice good communication and keep your therapist on the same page.
When should someone start THERAPY?
The sooner the better! Why not? Why allow problems to get bigger and resentment to grow.
Where can I find a therapist?
Tip One: Word-of-mouth referrals are always great. It’s wonderful when people can talk openly about mental health and their goals to improve well-being. Don’t worry if the referral doesn’t work for you, one size doesn’t always fit all.
Tip Two: Money shouldn’t be an issue. Hopefully you can find a low-cost therapy clinic nearby with the help of a simple online search. If you are a student, ask if your campus has any resources. Some major counties have a mental health department that might be of service. If there is a specialist you cannot afford but are interested in, call to inquire about a sliding scale or ask if an intern under his/her supervision is available.
Tip Three: Ask your insurance what options are available.
Tip Four: Search online. Psychology Today seems to be a great resource.
How can I learn more?
To learn more, consider asking someone who has gone through therapy, looking up more information online, or ask therapist directly.
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I am a Marriage & Family Therapist Registered Intern (#IMF67572) employed by and supervised under Dr. Winston Wilde. I am in the process of accruing hours towards my Sex Therapy Certification from the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). My specialties include sex therapy, therapy with erotic minority people, couples therapy, and therapy with individuals striving for a more fulfilling life. My mission is to provide an atmosphere that is safe, understanding, nonjudgmental, sex positive, and culturally aware.