As beneficial as therapy can be, it can also be really daunting if you want to start seeing a professional but aren't sure how or where to start. How do you find someone? And once you do, what should you be prepared for? What if you find out that your therapist just isn't the right fit for you?
All of these are valid questions, and it's understandable to want to know what to expect when you decide to take that step for your mental health. After all, therapy is hugely personal, and so is your relationship with your therapist. To get the most out of your sessions, it's important that you feel comfortable enough to do the work that you need to.
Kristin Zeising, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and couples therapist in the U.S., says that the bottom line is that what you get out of therapy is what you put into it.
"Recognise it takes both the therapist and you to address the issues and make changes," she says. "The therapist can’t make changes on their own. They are there to help ask insightful questions or guide you in your treatment, but can’t do the work for you. The more you put into it the more you’ll get out of it."
Of course, not everyone has the luxury of going to therapy — it can be expensive, and not all insurance plans cover it, making cost a huge barrier for many people. But if you can get access to a good therapist, it's definitely worth looking into.
Ahead, we've outlined a few things you can expect when you're starting therapy for the first time.