4 Suggestions for How to Start Your Counseling Journey
We live in a time where mental health is becoming less and less taboo, and more and more like casual table talk. Which, to me, is huge. Because just a few years ago we didn’t really hear this term thrown around like it has been recently. It’s a beautiful shift in my opinion, because destigmatization is the first step in being able to heal our society.
With this in mind, I feel like there are a lot of people who are like “Yeah! Mental health is important! But like...what do I do now?”
For tips on simple lifestyle changes you can make before pursuing professional help, check out my last blog called “5 Steps to Rising Above Fear/Anxiety”. This blog will focus more on seeking professional help and how to do that no matter what your situation may be (financially, emotionally, or physically).
So here are the 4 things that I believe will help you start this journey.
Decide what you need help with
For me, I made a list of a handful of issues that I felt like Jeremy and I had gone round and round on, and really needed a professional to help us with.
I meditated on this list and explored some of the feelings that these issues brought up for me
Do a little research
When it came to me and Jeremy, I knew that I needed a therapist who would understand us on a deep level without having to go through months and months of getting to know each other. I needed someone who could speak our “language” - someone who just understands our personalities, our trauma, someone who knows the terminology I would be using when explaining our stories and feelings (like somatic, enneagram, meditation, hypnosis, etc.) Not all therapists/counselors are well versed in these specialties, so find on who specializes in the topics you’re interested in
The website I use is www.psychologytoday.com
I like this website because its a giant, unbiased, no ads database where you can look at each therapist, see some reviews, check out their website, see their credentials and specialties, and make a well educated decision from there
Don’t be afraid to “shop around”
Jeremy and I have been to a handful of counselors and therapists and will possibly try other people in the future. Don’t be embarrassed or intimidated by getting multiple consultations and spending a few weeks with different therapists until you find one that really fits.
If traditional therapy doesn’t work for you, try alternatives
Ever heard of www.BetterHelp.com or www.E-Counseling.com ? These are just a few of the online options available to you. Also check with independent therapists and counselors to see if they offer online therapy themselves.
There are so many reasons why in-person counseling may not work for you. Whether that be trauma, social anxiety, finances, location, etc., you should still have the opportunity to have quality help available to you.
If finances are an obstacle, check with a few different locations to see if anyone works on a sliding-scale program (this is based off of your income to provide more affordable prices)
If you’re not looking for a professional, a lot of churches and nonprofit organizations provide free “counseling” through mentors who are trained to listen and encourage you.
At the end of the day, you sometimes just have to be creative, and prioritize yourself. Whether you’re married, single, divorced, etc., its always worth it to seek out help when things get overwhelming.
Another thing I always emphasize is that you don’t always have to have something wrong happening, in order to pursue therapy. I’m a firm believer in preventative care. We go through so much in life, and meeting every once in a while with a professional can be very proactive for whenever you do go through something difficult.
So that’s it! I hope that this helped at least get you started on this path toward prioritizing your own mental health. If it did, please let me know! DM me on Instagram/Facebook, or let me know in a comment! I’d love to hear from you.