7 Tips On How To Find A Therapist And Decide If They Are Right for You
Talking about mental health is hard. 2020 especially has tossed up a dish that no one wants to eat. It’s getting harder to not look at health issues from the lens of pandemic induced anxiety, stress and depression, which is only reasonable. Though, for some, these emotions may seem more familiar. Like a sleeper-cell in some dark underbelly of one’s mind, holding the potential to show up anytime, uninvited. Clinical depression, disorders, anxiety could be due to several reasons, unique to each. But just like we head to a dentist for a toothache or to an ophthalmologist for our eyes, similarly, mental health too has its own set of specialists, who help us process how we’re feeling.
A therapist is a broader umbrella term for certified professionals who specialize in therapeutic medical treatment and rehabilitation. They offer support, creating a safe space for us to talk about our feelings and thoughts. A good therapist helps us unpack these emotions, gently guiding towards unknotting our troubles and identifying our triggers through self-awareness and coping tools. Sometimes you need these truths which your friends or family cannot tell you; it will help you get to the root cause of trauma and understand outbursts that could be more event-driven. If you’re seeking one, read on to know what to look out for and decide if a therapist is right for you.
Comfort Is Key
A therapist may have all the degrees, but if they can’t make you feel comfortable, then neither what they say can reach you nor will you truly put your guard down to allow it to do so. A good therapist is a sound listener who will coax you to understand yourself better rather than making you rely on them for decisions. Whether you choose therapy as a pro-active measure or to fix an issue bothering you, genuine comfort is vital to a nurturing environment of trust for you to open up without feeling judged in your vulnerable state of mind.
Not A One Size Fits All Approach
If one doesn’t work out, doesn’t mean others won’t either. Please don’t let it doubt your belief in therapy altogether. It is okay to move on. As a friend who had her share of looking to do with multiple therapists puts it, “it’s like kissing the wrong frogs till you find the right one.” She adds, while being receptive is key for therapy to work, a good therapist is suggestive, “telling you truths you cannot see” and does not resort to decisive name-calling. She stresses, not to become opposed to it altogether because of one bad experience.
Talk To Your Friends And Family
Mental health is gradually freeing itself from the clutches of the stigma it once bore. The conversation is slowly changing, one mindset at a time. This includes the generation of Boomers as well. Talk to your loved ones, seek referrals from them. This helps, but you still have more homework to do because a therapist who works for someone might not necessarily work for you.
In case getting referrals is difficult, check out websites, forums, and clinical social worker websites. Organizations such as TISS or Live Love Laugh Foundation share relevant information. There are also crowdsourced lists including helplines for urgent and immediate support, especially during the current times. You can also check out Medanta, that offers counselling sessions online, especially during COVID-19 times when travel is restricted. Find out more here.
Golden rule – read, research and educate yourself as much as you can. Therapists specialize in different modes of therapy, and some use multiple modalities as well. Understand what kind of therapist you need. Often a counsellor sees you first, who is like a diagnostic to assess your situation and check if you only need counselling or medication as well. Based on this, they might direct you further to a psychotherapist, psychiatrist, psychologist or psychoanalyst.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You want an expert who knows what they are talking about – not just someone defined by the number of their degrees or one who claims expertise after having only a 10-day certification course. Preferably, first, arrange for only one session to see if they fit for what you’re looking for. Spot the red flags, if any. It’s essential to be informed.
Is Therapy Expensive?
Yes, it can be, but it also depends on where you are based. A reasonable fee in Mumbai would cost you around INR 1000 to 2500 per session while other cities could be cheaper. Some even charge a fee of about INR 4000 and upwards per session. If you’re a student, look for a therapist who specifically caters to students. Many therapists also offer a sliding scale for students and those who might find it hard to afford these rates.
How often you need to see your therapist should be decided together. There are instances of some who pressurize you to see them daily, but how feasible is that?
Finding a good therapist can work wonders. Remember, you are your most crucial project, invest in yourself wisely.