written by Deborah Lowrey
Please review our disclaimer before starting any life changes.
You may feel that you do not need outside help and wish to see how much progress you can make on your own. For some, this is a very good path. For others, it is a very good start down the good path. I did self-therapy at the beginning, and then realized that I needed a sounding board and a guide. After all, I was needing to become healthy but only had dysfunctional tools, experiences, and environment.
I'd never really been around anyone who was healthy but for short-term encounters and relationships. I realized quickly that I needed a guide. I understood that my healing would be because I healed myself and that no one else could do it for me, but a guide would be a very important help for me.
Do not believe that going to counseling or asking someone for help is a sure sign of weakness or mental problems. It is not. It is a sign that you are being realistic, ready for growth and development, clearly assessing your dysfunctional environment as lacking in 'healthy tools', not knowing how to find them within ourselves, realizing your need to participate in your love affair with Love, and gain/grow in your spiritual development.
The most important understanding is that your healing comes from within you. No external anything will ever save or heal you. Love dwells within you and everything you need is already there. Sometimes we just need a source outside of our selves to be able to clearly hear our inner voice, awaken our slumbering spirit and tune into the voice of Love.
With all this said, there are some situations that you should seek help, especially with tragic events. With serious issues, it is imperative to work with a professional.
If you decide that you want a guiding therapist, consider the following:
Costs of Therapy
Many therapists accept health insurance. Check with your insurance group to see what coverage, if any, they provide.
Many therapists understand that we all have varying levels of income and many offer sliding scale fees based on your particular monetary situation. Some will, in qualifying cases, provide the therapy for a time at no cost or you can also call your local Family Service Agency or Mental Health Association. Most listing can be found in the beginning of the phone book or in the yellow pages.
There are many types of therapists. Check into: psychiatrists (if you need medication), psychologists, and social workers.
How to Find a Therapist
If you've seen someone before and you liked them, consider them. Things do change, so don't feel that if things are different this time around, that you have to continue seeing that particular therapist. Find someone you connect with. It is far easier to make progress with someone you like. Someone you don't like or has a different view or style than you, may hinder your progress.
Ask your friends about their therapist. What did they like about them? What is their view or style? Friends are important resources and can really be helpful when you need information.
Contact your local Family Service Agency or Mental Health Association. They may be able to refer you.
"Let your fingers do the walking" is another option. Be sure to talk with the therapist. Ask them lots of questions about their style, their world view, their pricing, and give them a quick list of some things you would like to talk about or change. Ask your self if you like them. There's nothing wrong with being a little critical at this point. You are the boss and you are hiring them. This is your life and happiness, ask questions accordingly.
Ask your self if it is worth your time (about an hour a week on average) to talk with someone about things you'd like to change in your life. Is it important to be happy and spend the personal time working and thinking on the things you'd like changed? How much time are you willing to devote to this? The answers to these questions will give you an idea of how much time you want to involve in attaining your happiness and providing therapy for yourself.
It is reasonable to assume that you will at least learn to understand your self, your challenges, and what you want through therapy.
Since nothing is perfect, don't assume that you will solve all of the problems in your life. I was initially in panic, as I related in my article The First Step in Getting Self Help to Work for You, but learned that I was ok. Don't despair. It's not so much the destination that matters, rather, it is the journey there, that is this thing called Life.
As you go through therapy, and when you are ending therapy, rate everything that you wanted to change. Grade it on a scale of one to ten or with a percentage to indicate the degree you feel you were successful or unsuccessful in changes and understanding. Report this to your therapist. This can be a very helpful tool for you and them. This helps many people avoid feeling overwhelmed. This is a great tool to list and grasp each individual thing you wish to accomplish. You might be surprised how helpful this step can be and can be instrumental to bring you self empowerment.
This is truly an awesome step. When I was doing my first conscious life change (and it was major), I was getting so many benefits that my nightmares had changed to exhilarating dreams of me flying. I felt so free and alive, it seemed that in my waking hours all I had to do was close my eyes and I was off the ground. The results you have are only defined and limited by you. Ultimately, it is you who chooses what, and the magnitude of the results of your therapy.