Common thoughts for first timers who have never tried therapy are...
"I'm thinking about therapy but I'm not sure how to get started," "I haven't needed therapy all these years. Why would I need it now?," "It's too much of a hassle to find a therapist," or even "I don't have all this extra time to figure it out."
You are not alone. I've had these thoughts as well! These thoughts can serve as the greatest barriers for anyone seeking mental health help and further contribute to the ongoing mental health crisis. Starting therapy can be quite simple. I've created this guide to lay out the easy steps for you, and especially to help communities who don't have the resources to get mental health help.
If you have HMO insurance (In-Network benefits):
Make sure you look for a therapist who covers your insurance plan (i.e., Anthem, Kaiser, United Healthcare, etc.)
Look at the back of your insurance card for informational phone numbers or search your health insurance company website for mental health services
Pick a therapist or get assigned to one
Call/email to schedule a consultation if available, so you can decide at this appointment which therapist best fits your needs and makes you feel comfortable
Sometimes there are too many options, so asking to get assigned to a therapist can ease anxiety
If it doesn't work out after a couple/several sessions, you can always request to change therapists
If you have PPO insurance (Out-of-Network benefits):
You have the flexibility to choose any therapist within network or even a private practice therapist as long as they are within the state you live in
If you can afford self-pay a.k.a. out of pocket therapy:
Narrow down your search for a therapist by specific specialties, experiences, therapeutic background, genders, cultural background, religion, and affiliations to address your needs
Be prepared with your questions and/or see how you can build rapport with the therapist when you attend the consultation appointment
Be mindful that your therapist is also trying to evaluate if they have the expertise to help you, which is important to decide whether or not you both are a good fit
Once you are all set up for your consultation call or first appointment, prepare a list of reasons for seeking therapy and your therapist will assess your need for therapy and help you figure out the rest.