As the new year comes to an end, so begins the many articles about living your best life! You may have been thinking about saving more money, committing to a workout class, or cutting down on drinking alcohol.
Those are great goals by the way. But what about centering your mental wellness. If you are thinking about different ways to prioritize yourself in the new year, beginning therapy is a great place to start! However, the saying, “It’s easier said than done” may hold true for you and for several reasons. So, let’s look at ways to address four common challenges to beginning therapy!
I can’t afford it
First, if you have insurance refer to your plan to see if and how much of therapy would be covered. Going through insurance can mean paying a copay or nothing at all. Some insurance providers may only cover a certain number of sessions as well, so these are all things to verify ahead of time. You could also look into using your flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA). If you are not insured, therapy can still be an option if you want it to be. Remember, just like any of your other interests, therapy is an additional expense that you will have to include in the budget. But, many therapists offer a sliding scale, which provides clients a rate usually based on their ability to pay and income. It also doesn’t hurt for you to look at community health options for low-income individuals and families. Either way, this may be an opportunity to look at your current spending habits and make some changes. Therapy can be costly but the money will be well spent.
I’m so busy, I don’t have time
There are only 24 hours in a day and many people are already juggling work and time for other interests and obligations. But the fact is that therapy is something you will have to make time for, too. First, look at the tasks that are already on your plate to determine how things can be moved around. Once you re-imagine your time and schedule, start looking for a therapist. When looking at your availability, consider your lunch break, after work, or during the weekends. If you plan to see a therapist after work, you may have to factor in traffic. Or if the therapist’s office is located in a dense area, you may need to factor in the need to find parking and walk to the office. Additionally, some therapists offer session lengths ranging from 45 min to 1 hour. So, you have options if you are pressed for time.
Finding a therapist is stressful
Aside from location, the next biggest challenge is finding a therapist who you want to work with. Please be patient during this process. Not everyone likes or vibes well with the first, second, or third therapist they meet. Think about your purpose for seeing a therapist and search for someone who is interested in and specializes in your specific concerns. There are several therapeutic approaches and models so ask any potential therapists about their style and any specializations and certifications they may have. You can also ask others for recommendations, which can feel vulnerable for sure. But it can be extremely normalizing and affirming to talk to someone you know about their experience with therapy. Also, you get a recommendation from someone you trust.
I don’t need a therapist
Sometimes when you are going through something, you feel that you should be able to address it on your own. That is exactly one of the major takeaways of going to therapy -- to learn ways to cope and manage things better, and on your own, in the future. However, we know there is a lot of stigma, and even shame, that people face when it comes to therapy. But the more that we talk about our issues and share our experiences about going to therapy for help, the more normalized it will become. Even now, there is a huge mental health movement underway. Keep in mind that people see a therapist for a variety of reasons. From wanting to manage their anxiety to seeking new perspectives revolving a relationship, a therapist is there to meet you where you are and help you on the journey you want to take.
So, what will you bring into 2019?
We’ve challenged some of the biggest hurdles that may come up when considering therapy. Now it’s on you to start thinking about how to make 2019 a healthier and more productive year. And you don’t have to forget about your other goals because your therapist can help you strategize and be intentional with goals around money, health, relationships, and everything else!
If you are looking for therapist in the St. Louis area, Healing Exchange may be a great fit for you. Schedule your complimentary consultation today and discuss your "New Year, New Me" goals!
Rafaella Smith-Fiallo is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and owns Healing Exchange LLC. She specializes in supporting healing after sexual violence, building self-esteem and confidence, and teaching healthy sexuality to individuals, those in relationships, and within supportive group settings. She also cofounded Afrosexology, a sex-positive, pleasure based sexuality education platform.