I know from talking to many clients, how difficult they find it when they start to think about accessing therapy and finding a therapist.
They tell me that the whole process of knowing where to look, trying to make sense of all the terminology around therapy, sifting through the number of various therapy options can feel overwhelming.
So when you are feeling anxious or depressed, when your world feels like it is spinning out of control, when you feel trapped, stuck, helpless, worthless, how do you start the difficult process of searching for someone, who is able to help you start to regain control and break free? How do you find someone with the skills to help you to learn to counter and control those overwhelming emotions and sensations and reframe those limiting, destabilising and outdated belief systems?
My clients tell me that it takes a lot of energy and courage to take that first step of searching for a therapist and picking up the phone to make that first contact. In fact for many people the hurdle seems so great that looking for a therapist is their last resort, they’ve tried everything else they can think of!
Starting your search is made more difficult by the sheer number of therapists you can choose from, the confusing number of different counselling approaches therapists are trained in, professional bodies therapists belong to, qualifications they have etc. For a layperson it’s confusing, and when you are struggling with the energy and motivation to just get through each day, it can feel like an insurmountable obstacle.
The first step forward….it’s empowering
Yet, when you are feeling this low and bad about yourself and your life and seem completely stuck, there is nothing much more important than investing what little energy you have, to find someone who can support you to start to move positively forward.
There is the well-known quote from Moa Tse Tung: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, which I think is so true. Just taking that first little step of turning to your computer with the intention of finding a therapist, gives you a sense of taking control and generates energy and motivation to pursue your quest.
There is a poem I really like along these same lines that is attributed to Goethe, the German writer, poet and statesman:
……..That the moment one definitely commits oneself,
Then providence moves in too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would
never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues forth from the decision,
Raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen
incidents and material assistance which
no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Begin it now.
Start with a bit of Googling
I would advise doing a little research to find therapists who live within easy traveling distance, (you will be committing to seeing them regularly, probably each week, so they need to be close). Then look at their websites and find therapists whose websites look professional, who have experience and belong to the main professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy ( BACP, UKCP) or those for hypnotherapy (NCH, NHC, the GHR). In some cases you may get a positive gut-feel from what you read about a particular therapist. Look at the approaches they use, (there are many, such as Psychodynamic, Person Centred, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Gestalt, Human Givens, Solution focused brief therapy, Hypnotherapy, Integrative, Relation Psychotherapy etc.), and do a little research on them. Maybe the idea of talking therapies doesn’t really appeal, but something like Art therapy feels a better fit. Professional bodies like the BACP have some explanatory notes, and there is a wealth of info on the web.
Don’t rush, be choosy
The most important thing though at this stage is to find two or three therapists who you think could meet your needs and then look to see if they do a free or half price assessment session. Many therapists like me do that. In my case, my sessions are free and unhurried. I will talk over your situation, explain how I work, go through an assessment procedure and discuss whether I believe I can help. If I do not think I have the expertise to help with your particular circumstances, I will suggest options for you. At the same time I am happy to help clarify questions you have about therapy that will help you come to a good decision about how best to proceed.
Be choosy, speak to or go to see two or three therapists and look for one you feel comfortable with. The quality of the relationship has been shown to be an important component in success.
Take that first step, there’s energy in it
The important thing is, don’t be put off taking that first empowering step. There are many therapists like myself out there ready to talk to you, help you and guide you in making the right choice for you, the one that will help you to break free. Begin it now!