A lot of people start the new year by saying that they need to talk to a therapist. This is a great idea because your therapist can help you work on things that you want to change in the new year, work through pain in the past years, and of course be a sounding board for your new plans and ideas.
I wanted to give you some assistance today in starting to find a therapist. Here are some things to remember:
1. If you have a therapist and you would like a new one, tell your old one NOW:
Be prepared to answer questions like "what did you like about therapy?" and "what didn't you like about therapy?" It is your choice to answer or not but remember, it may help the therapist to make changes for future clients if you are open about your discontent. Either way, they need to know you are moving on so that they can not call you to check in or send you materials. You will also need to tell them for the next step.
2. Get your records from any previous therapists:
These records are things you are entitled to, however, sometimes they are not helpful if the therapist does not take thorough notes. These can aide your new therapist in finding areas that you had issues with as well as helping them to gain a fuller picture of you as a client. If you would like to just hold on to these, that is okay too.
3. Prepare yourself for telling your story ENTIRELY:
As therapists, we do something called an intake that can take a whole lot out of you if you have a painful past. We ask things about your family of origin, your current family, your social relationships, your romantic relationships, your physical health history, your mental health history, your families mental health history, and the list goes on according to the therapist. This is not just to probe into your history and make you feel uncomfortable. This is for us to get a thorough clinical picture. You would be surprised how many physical diseases can cause or lead to depression so it is important for us to know history in order to rule out things and give you proper care and referrals.
4. Approach therapy with a fresh perspective:
Many people have heard about therapy from others or even had bad therapists themselves. Go into your therapy setting with an open mind and work collaboratively with your therapist. This is your money, your time, and your life. Get what you want out of therapy!
5. Treat it like an interview:
You do not have to pick the first therapist you call. You can meet with therapists in a consultation and see if you feel comfortable sharing with them and feel comfortable with the environment, gender, ethnicity, age, etc... There are many factors to everyone's choice of therapist but the overall thing to do is treat it like a job interview. You are paying this person a great deal of money (sometimes) to do this so it's fair that you feel comfortable and safe with them
Have a lovely New Years Eve!!! Join me tomorrow on January 1, 2011 to begin our series on CHANGES!