What to Consider Before Starting Therapy

Any counselor or therapist worth their salt will tell you that therapy is not an easy process. Often clients come in with the hope of finding clarity, insight or peace. While this is in line with my personal counseling philosophy, achieving those things often involves delving into painful thoughts and negative feelings at times.

That being said, therapy is an investment. It’s both an investment of your time and energy.  The hope and goal should be to establish a net gain that makes delving into the complexities of your life all worth it. There are, however, a few things you should consider before entering therapy:

The therapist. It is widely known in the counseling community that the single most important contributor to success in your counseling process is the relationship between you and your therapist. That means that you should exercise your discretion in choosing who you think will be a good fit for you. Do your research! Look at your potential therapist’s website and social media accounts to get a feel about who they are and their perspective on therapy. Here are some possible things to consider:

What is their philosophy on mental health?
What kind of treatment do they offer?
Do they have times available that are convenient for you?
Do they have the appropriate training, education and licensure?

Cost & Value. I’ve included both cost and value of therapy as potential things to consider. While some use these terms interchangeably, I think there’s a bit of nuance to unpack, especially when considering the personal investment that is therapy. I tend to think of cost as the bare bones dollar amount that you pay for a service. Basically, can you afford this therapist’s hourly rate based on your income? If not, do they offer a sliding scale for people with lower incomes? Conversely, value refers to the actual financial cost versus your potential therapist’s training and specialty. More simply put, do you feel this potential therapist is worth what they charge?

Location. You won’t make it to your regular appointments if it’s horribly inconvenient for you to do so. Does your potential new therapist work out of a convenient office location? Again, value comes into play here. If your therapist is a little out of the way, do you think their services are worth the extra trip?

PS If your therapist’s office is inconvenient for some reason, you may want to inquire about Skype or online therapy services.

Time. Do you have the time to commit to weekly meetings? What about twice monthly? Is your potential therapist flexible enough to meet your scheduling needs? If not, then you should likely ask for a referral to another provider.

Feel free to check back as I add items to this post in the future. And if you are in the NYC area and looking for affordable therapy then check out my Therapy page for more information on my philosophy and practice.