Are You Looking for Help?

Here's how to find a therapist with the right fit.

Posted Nov 04, 2019

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Are you having trouble deciding whether or not to seek therapy? Do you give up before you’ve even started, daunted by finding the right person, talking to a stranger, and figuring out the health insurance puzzle? You are not alone. Many young adults know they want help but need support, and even guidance, from a loved one or caring friend just to get the process started. Sometimes people close to you think it would useful for you to talk to someone, but you reacted badly to their suggestion. Whatever the case, it’s been difficult for you to follow through and make an appointment, especially if you are feeling ashamed about your emotions or behaviors and struggling to live each day with ADHD. Sometimes it can just seem overwhelming to add one more thing to your plate.  

While it’s tough to make the initial efforts, in the long run, the compassion and insight of a good therapist will assist you greatly in feeling better about yourself and building a more satisfying life. Their empathy and support will aid you in the challenging and sometimes slow process of making desired personal changes. Instead of shame, blame, or frustration, they’ll help you improve self-worth, resilience, and competency. Of course, when someone starts to see a counselor or therapist for the first time, opening up about your private thoughts and feelings can be both awkward and intimidating. That’s expected. It’s hard for anyone to be vulnerable with someone they don’t really know.

Here are a few tips about beginning the therapeutic process that can ease this transition:

1.   The hardest part is getting started:  Find someone who meets your needs by asking around for recommendations from friends or caring adults. Review a list of local therapists and read descriptions of their work. Consider asking a close friend or your partner to go with you for the initial appointment and wait in a nearby café. It’s common to meet one or two therapists as a way to see how it feels to talk with them. Be prepared to go to a few appointments before you make a decision.

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2.  You can and should ask questions: If knowing a few things about the therapist makes you feel comfortable, then create a list of questions beforehand. If you’re struggling to do this on your own, ask someone who knows you well to help. I had one client spend the initial session asking me about my work history, my philosophy about therapy, and my approach to working with men with ADHD. I asked him very little about himself because it was clear that he wanted to understand my experience, how my approach would work for him, and if I could empathize with his concerns. 

3. There’s plenty of time: There’s no rush for sharing your information before you are ready. The counseling is for your benefit. Be patient. Start by discussing basic information about your background, family, and work as a way to break the ice. You don’t have to delve into the big feelings or problems during the first appointment unless you want to. Take as much time as needed to feel comfortable so that later on you can show your vulnerability.

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Therapists know that their role is to meet clients where they are. Don’t put pressure on yourself to please them, worry about hurting their feelings, or think they will judge you negatively. Be yourself. Set goals for the therapy, and work on them together.