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Your nitty-gritty guide to finding a therapist you love.

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 HANNAH

I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.

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First off, I love that we get to have this conversation right here. 

Ten years ago, we were not talking about therapy. It wasn’t all that long ago but therapy was (and sometimes still is) a taboo topic. 

I don’t know where this shame came from that we shouldn’t seek help, that we shouldn’t find an unbiased voice to help us through the dark tunnels, or that we are wrong or less than for wanting to better ourselves through therapy. 

Wherever the stigma comes from, I hope you can kick into the corner as you read this nitty-gritty guide to approaching therapy. I’m giving you all my know-how when it comes to finding a therapist you love and connect with on a deeper level. 

Remember: There is no shame in you going to talk to someone who is outside of your circle. 

This might be the healthiest step you ever take for yourself. 

Take care of yourself, no matter what you’re going through. You are important and we need you here.

THERAPY IS COMPLETELY NORMAL

There. I said it. I know it’s hard to believe it but therapy is normal and healthy. Let’s debunk the lie that only crazy people or only sick people go to therapy. It’s just not true. 

There have been times in my life where I needed my therapist for a specific issue I was dealing with. Severe depression is what led me into the relationship I now have with my current therapist. But I’ve been seeing her every single month for the last 5 years. Some months we dig deep. Some months we talk through surface-level problems. But I did not experience a “cure” and then decide to stop therapy. I wove therapy into my everyday existence because, to me, it’s like a monthly mental tune-up. 

It’s someone to talk to who doesn’t live in my house. 

It’s an outsider perspective who can give me different ways to look at things. 

It’s unbiased voice who wants to see me win.

MAKE SURE YOUR VALUES ALIGN

In my own research, I came across this site to help you filter through therapists in your area. This is crucial when it comes to making sure the therapist treats your specific needs, understands your lifestyle, and can relate to you.

A few years ago, a girlfriend of mine made an appointment with a therapist for grief counseling and she called me after the first meeting.

“Do I have your permission to not go back to her?” she asked me, laughing. She just couldn’t connect with the therapist. She felt the therapist was younger than her and was not a mother and she specifically wanted to talk with someone who was a few years ahead of her in those areas. This makes total sense and it’s absolutely the things you should be thinking about when choosing a therapist:

Do you want someone older or younger?

Does the therapist take your insurance or are they independent?

Do you want a counselor that brings faith into the conversation? 

Do you want a male or female counselor? 

Do you prefer to meet online, over the phone, or in-person?

All of these questions matter. And you are free to ask these questions to your potential therapist.

THERAPY IS A RELATIONSHIP– YOU RARELY KNOW AFTER THE FIRST DATE

I wish someone told me this when I was 22 years old and walking into the office of the first therapist I found on Google. 

Yup. I literally googled “therapists in New York City” and picked a random man who worked by my office in Manhattan.

I didn’t know at the time that I could (and should) be picky with my therapist. I didn’t think, “Oh, yea… I would much rather talk to a female. I’d feel more comfortable that way.” 

I thought I had to go with the first therapist I found and that’s just not the truth.

>
Therapy is a bit like dating. You sometimes have to go on a few dates before you know whether or not you want to commit. You sometimes know from the very first date that you want no part in a relationship moving forward. 

Therapy is a bit like dating. You sometimes have to go on a few dates before you know whether or not you want to commit. You sometimes know from the very first date that you want no part in a relationship moving forward. 

You should ask all the questions that matter to you.

You should interview your therapist for compatibility.

You should find someone you feel really comfortable with. If you’re not comfortable, you won’t open up and therapy is only valuable when you start opening up and dealing with things.

YES, THERE ARE CHRISTIAN THERAPISTS

I learned five years ago that there is such a thing as Christian counseling. This was big for me and I don’t know how I didn’t think about it before.

If I filter everything in my life through the lens of God then how could I not find a therapist who approached life in the same way? 

If you’re looking to meet with a counselor who will bring a Biblical perspective into your conversations, check out Faithful. All the therapists are licensed and credentialed with the ability to do phone sessions, live video sessions, and also messaging. There’s a quick survey for you to fill out and you’ll be matched with a therapist in 24 hours.

I’ve been meeting with my Christian therapist for the last 5 years and it has been an absolute game-changer for both my faith and mental health. Not only have I become healthier but my view of God and how God sees me has become healthier, as well. 

FOR THE COLLEGE KIDS

I dealt with some bullying my freshman year of college and I sought out counseling on campus. The counseling was completely free but really, it is factored into the tuition you are already paying. Don’t sleep on this. If you need an unbiased voice… if you want someone to talk to who isn’t your roommate… if you feel a little depressed of anxious– set up an appointment with an on-campus counselor and make the most of this resource. 

IT’S OKAY TO BE SCARED

I remember how scary it was to make that first appointment. Truth be told, I’m often the person my friends come to when they book their first therapy appointment. I get reader emails all the time about how you signed up for your first session. 

Making an appointment is the hardest part. And no is telling you that your hands can’t be shaking as you fill out the forms and make the first phone call.

You don’t have to be confident as you walk into that first session.

You’re allowed to be scared and anxious.

It’s about feeling the fear and doing anyway. Good things rarely come without a decent amount of struggle. Embrace the struggle and, whatever you do, don’t cancel the appointment once you have it on the calendar.

You owe it to yourself to show up.

You deserve good things and therapy is one of those good, good things. Show up for it.

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

I would love for you to share your experience with finding a therapist who fits you. People are always searching for more answers, relief, community, and a sense they’re not alone in these comments so please write from your heart. Someone might need your experience today.

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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!

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