Seeking Help – Getting started with Counseling
Making the choice to get help through therapy can be a wonderful step forward even if you have mixed emotions. It may seem like a burden lifted just because you are at last taking decisive steps to overcome a difficult time in your life. Your lack of experience with counseling may lead to fear or uncertainty. Alternately, you may be feeling overwhelmed at returning to therapy a second or more times.
Regardless of your present feelings about seeing a counselor, please know that boldly seeking help in this way is an achievement in itself and worthy of recognition. Pursuing professional help indicates a deep self-awareness that a better life is possible. This also shows that you’ve made a decision to make your own best interest a reasonable priority in your life.
Believing in your own wisdom while experiencing a rough time in life is often difficult to do since nervousness, embarrassment or a lack of hope can make you doubt yourself. Here are some ways to simplify your help seeking.
Realize you want to make changes to improve yourself or some part of your life.
Maybe you feel damaged or broken, in need of repair. Rather than thinking in those terms, voice your need for change as a desire for improvement. Everyone wants to improve themselves and/or their situation so just recognize you are seeking help to improve – to be better.
Perhaps you feel that your concerns are not important in comparison to others whose problems you would deem more critical. Counseling or therapy isn’t just for people who have experienced severe trauma. Anyone can benefit. Imagine your counseling experience as a safe place and time strictly reserved for your personal growth and development.
Decide to start the process during a calm moment.
In the midst of some desperate moment, deciding to seek therapy may seem the only option to alleviate your suffering. However, when that moment passes and you feel a bit better, you may change your mind. This can lead to a series of delays in getting the help you need for a truly crippling problem. Instead, make your decision to seek help from your most relaxed and reasonable mindset. In doing this, your decision will feel right and you will be able to commit to it.
Gain perspective from someone you know who has seen a counselor.
Do you know anyone who has seen a counselor or been in therapy? You might gain valuable insight by asking them about their experiences. Ask about how they found their counselor, frequency of sessions and how they benefitted from the experience. You may find inspiration, encouragement and comfort in their responses. Counseling may seem frightening or awkward because you know so little about it. Getting the inside story from someone you know can help you overcome any worries or fears so you can be confident about your choice to find help.
Understand the financial aspects.
Obviously, the choice to seek professional help will result in a financial commitment. Most counselors provide several options for payment including acceptance of some insurances. Be sure to know about deductibles and co-pays. If you don’t have insurance, many counselors offer a variety of cash options and can help you find a way to get the help you need. Make sure you know how the financial aspect of getting help will work prior to attending the first session because nobody wants any surprises in this.
Choose carefully because making the connection with your therapist is essential to success.
Extensive research consistently confirms that rapport with your therapist is the most important factor in successful counseling. Being comfortable with your therapist may be the single most important factor. Recommendations from friends and family, a referral from your physician or a simple online search may be your way of finding possible counselors. Counselors typically provide biographical information as well as therapeutic approaches and specialties. To insure that you feel comfortable and can connect with your potential counselor, speak with them by phone or ask for an initial consultation in which you can interact to determine if they are a good fit for you.
Celebrate your choice to get help as the first in a series of actions toward a better you! It may not be easy to decide to reach out for professional help for improvement of self or life circumstance. Regardless of the decision’s difficulty, you’re choosing to do what is ultimately in your own best interest. It’s not unusual to have butterflies, feel uncertain or worried about this new venture. However, you should remember that whatever you desire to change or improve is temporary while your next chapter is ready to begin.