5 Helpful Tips For Starting Therapy (If You’re Nervous About It)

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5 Helpful Tips For Starting Therapy (If You're Nervous About It)
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Therapy can be incredibly helpful, but there’s no denying that starting therapy can be intimidating. Despite its benefits, therapy is sometimes still stigmatized, and it can feel strange to talk through your emotions with a stranger – even if that stranger is a licensed professional.

Many people have a lot of anxiety about starting therapy, especially if it’s something they’ve never done before. While this is understandable, therapy is often the best way for people to work through their problems, understand themselves better, and get the help they need. 

5 Helpful Tips For Starting Therapy (If You're Nervous About It)
5 Helpful Tips For Starting Therapy (If You’re Nervous About It)

5 Tips For Starting Therapy If You’re Nervous About Going

Even if you are unsure or nervous about having your first therapy session, you shouldn’t let nerves stop you from taking such an important step. In this post, we’re going to offer you 5 ways to take the edge off your anxiety if you’re thinking about starting therapy.

1. Look into online therapy

Nowadays, there seem to be online options for nearly everything – and that includes therapy. While some clients enjoy the intimacy of an in-person session, others prefer the convenience of virtual sessions. Clients who struggle with social anxiety and shyness also tend to see virtual sessions as a “safer” option. At least, until they feel more comfortable meeting in person.

There are many benefits to online therapy, such as the fact that it’s often more affordable than traditional therapy, and that it’s flexible. With online therapy, you get all the benefits of therapy without ever leaving your home. People often feel more comfortable doing things this way, because they are in a comfortable and familiar environment. 

While video-call sessions are often a good alternative for in-person therapy, you may even be able to have sessions via a phone call or messenger if that feels more convenient to you – it’s all about making therapy accessible for you. Have a look at the best online therapy options to learn more.

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2. Go with a friend

Of course, you’re not going to be taking a friend into your therapy session with you, since it should be a private matter, but it can be helpful to have a friend go with you to the therapist’s office and keep you company while you wait. Alternatively, you and your friend can both agree to give therapy a try – even if you don’t actually do it together, it can be helpful to know that you aren’t going through this experience on your own. 

Aside from the fact that having a friend there to support you through therapy is amazing, you should also consider asking your friends to support you in other ways. There are many benefits of having emotional support, so you should work on building up a strong support system. 

And of course, if you are in a romantic relationship and you and your partner are having trouble, couples counseling can be an ideal way to work through your issues together. 

3. Do Your research

Many things seem a lot scarier than they actually are simply because we don’t truly understand them. This is also true with therapy.

Doing some research beforehand can be helpful. You can look at some mental health blogs so that you understand more about mental health and thus have a better idea of things you can talk about in therapy. This way, you can also learn about different types of therapy, which should give you some idea of where to start. 

You can also research different therapists and read their reviews to get a better idea of what they are like and whether they would be a good fit for you. You can even have once-off sessions with a few therapists to see who you think is the best option for you. 

RELATED:  The 5 Best Exercises For Mental Health and Mood Improvement

Keep in mind that while most therapists should be able to assist you with your problems, some therapists are experts in certain areas.  If you need help with one specific thing, it might be helpful to look for a therapist who specializes in that. 

If you are in the market for a new therapist, Psychology Today’s Therapist Directory is a good place to start. Many therapists in your area have their own profiles you can read to see if they would be a good match. You can even call or email them if you have specific questions.

How to Prepare for Your First Therapy Session. Courtesy, YouTube.

4. Talk about your anxiety with your therapist 

If you have started therapy but are still nervous, don’t be afraid to discuss your anxiety with your therapist. You need to learn how to talk about your feelings, and there’s no better place to start than in therapy.

Remember that therapists can seem intimidating and scary, but they are also just people. Even more than that, they are people who want to help you. Your therapist isn’t there to judge you or make a bad situation worse; they are there to do what’s best for you.

5. Take It One Step At A Time

People who struggle with anxiety disorders tend to get overwhelmed easily. For anyone new to therapy, it can seem like a daunting process. How long will it take? What will I have to talk about? What kind of emotions will I feel?

How long will it be until I start to feel better?

These are all good questions, but to avoid feeling overwhelmed, take things one step at a time. Once you have scheduled your first session, try not to worry about the second or third or fourth visit. Focus on making the most out of your first session. Ask questions. Give yourself time to get used to the process. Get to know your therapist. Take some time to see if they are a good fit. 

Worry about the second session once you’ve completed the first one. Do the same thing with the third session, then the fourth, and the fifth. By then, it will be part of your routine, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t start therapy a long time ago.

Final thoughts

If you feel nervous about starting therapy, there’s no need to be ashamed. In fact, most people feel nervous when they first start going to therapy – some just feel a little nervous, while others may be consumed with fear. 

Anxiety is a normal and natural response to the unknown. It’s just important to remember that anxiety does not predict an outcome, nor is it a warning to avoid that which you are pursuing. 

Best of luck to you as you start your journey. Trust me, it will be well worth it!

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Randy Withers, LCMHC

Randy Withers, LCMHC is a Board-Certified and Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor at a private practice in North Carolina where he specializes in co-occurring disorders. He has masters degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lenoir-Rhyne University and Education from Florida State University, and is the managing editor of Blunt Therapy. He writes about mental health, therapy, and addictions. In his spare time, you can find him watching reruns of Star Trek: TNG with his dog. Connect with him on LinkedIn. You can also see what he writes about on Medium.

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