Deciding whether or not to go to counseling can be a very scary thing. You may feel like it is a sign of weakness that you feel a need to go, you may be wondering what others will think, or you’re just plain ole afraid to deal with the broken parts of you.
But, if you have been going back and forth about this decision and for some reason you just can’t escape the thought of it, that’s probably your intuition telling you that you need to talk to a therapist.
There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with talking to a professional. Look at it as a way of improving who you are as a person. Our goal as human beings should be to constantly grow and be better than who we were yesterday. Going to counseling can be your first step to becoming a better you. When you are a better you, you are able to see things from a more positive perspective. You are able to love and be loved properly. You are able to learn how to value yourself. There are so countless benefits to going to counseling, but that’s just a few to get you excited about going.
Although I am no professional, I am here to provide you with 5 steps to prepare for your first counseling session.
1. Open your mind and heart.
The key to having a successful counseling experience is to be open to it. In order to heal and grow, you have to be open to the process. You have to allow yourself to be vulnerable and let another person in so that they can help you. Being vulnerable is not the easiest thing to do, so be patient with yourself in doing this.
2. Find a counselor you feel you can connect with.
Psychology Today is where you can start looking for a therapist in your area. On this site, you can filter your search by the type of counseling you are looking for (family, relationship, career,etc.), religious background, gender, etc. Each therapist will also have a bio for you to read. Hopefully, you will feel drawn to one of the therapist through their bio and, if so, you can go to the next step.
3. Make an appointment.
Alright now is where we get serious. It’s time to make the appointment. It’s best to schedule an appointment within a week of your call; any longer than a week and you may lose your courage and we don’t want that to happen! While you are making your appointment, be sure to ask if they take your insurance. Most people don’t know this, but mental health is covered under most insurance policies.
4. Write down 1 or 2 goals you would like to accomplish.
Now this can be another hard thing to do. Sometimes we don’t know exactly what we are going for, but we just know we need to go. A simple goal could be learning how to love and value yourself, effective communication skills, moving past a breakup, or healing from a past trauma. Those are just a few examples to get you started.
Now this is the most important step. You MUST commit! Counseling is not easy because you will have to dig deep within yourself to address issues that you may not even realize are there. Even when you want to give up because you feel like it’s not working, which it usually doesn’t for the first couple of sessions, stick it out! If your therapist is truly not a good fit, find another. But commit to counseling. People have asked me how many sessions should you commit to. That is a discussion that you would have with your therapist. However, most will say at least 6 to start and then go from there.
I really hope these steps help you in making your decision to attend counseling. If you read my article “The Better Side of Heartbreak”, you can see how much counseling worked for me! It will truly be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made for yourself!
If you have any questions or would like some advice, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a comment below, or contact me via one of the channels below. I look forward to hearing from you!
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