By: Tamiaya Baker
Jun 12, 2019
If you’re considering therapy, here are five questions to ask before you begin.
2017 was a rough year. I felt like I was losing focus and control of the reality around me. I was always physically tired, I had lost 30 lbs. and I was uninterested in a social life. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was sinking into depression. I needed to get a grip on my life, and fast.
My best friend always joked that I needed therapy, but she was right. I came from a strong matriarchal family that believed in the power of God and prayer. So for me, therapy was not an option. However, when I was all prayed out and mentally exhausted, it seemed like therapy was my only option.
Because I’d never considered therapy, I didn’t know where to start. What type of therapist did I need? Could I afford a therapist? What was the process for finding one? All of these thoughts swarmed my mind and I decided to do what we all do when we need answers – I consulted Google!
I researched general therapy topics and mulled over what I wanted to get out of the experience. I needed to figure out who I would be comfortable speaking my most intimate truths to. That turned out to be the most important aspect of my hunt. I landed on a therapist who felt kindred. She was exactly what I needed.
When choosing a therapist, understand exactly what you need. The process can be a bit daunting, but start by considering the following:
- Why am I seeking therapy? Many therapists have a specialty like Anger Management or Family Counseling. Think about what you want to address within your sessions and begin your search there.
- Do I care what my therapist looks and presents like? This may seem like a trivial thing, but you will be diving into some very personal feelings, beliefs and experiences. It may matter who is looking back at you while you are divulging – think about it.
- Is this a good therapist? While recommendations are always a plus, you may not have anyone who can personally recommend one. In this case, you may want to look for online reviews. If there aren’t any available, trust your gut and decide based on your needs. If you don’t connect with the therapist, you can always choose another one.
- Is scheduling flexible? While it’s great to have a highly sought after therapist, you want to make sure you can see them a reasonable amount of time, during convenient times in the week. Having a therapist won’t do much good if you can only book one session every six months.
- What is my budget for therapy? If you are uninsured, you’ll need to pay out of pocket. Plan ahead for that bill as therapy can be up to $100 per session, maybe more. If you have insurance, you will likely have a co-pay. Ultimately, keep cost in mind when planning frequency of visits.
Deciding you need therapy is not always an easy realization. Therapy remains a taboo topic in the Black community, but trust me when I say it’s necessary! The same way you would treat hypertension with a good diet, you need to treat your anxious mind with peace. Both situations require a trusted professional that can provide you the tools for a healthy lifestyle. Take your time and feel your way through finding the right therapist. You won’t regret it. Happy growing!