Why and How to Get Your Own Therapist - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Why and How to Get Your Own Therapist

For most adults, regularly visiting a primary care physician is a no-brainer. We understand that our bodies need care to stay healthy, and we know that waiting to address a serious illness or injury is a bad idea. If we choose, instead, to regularly visit a primary care physician, then we are more likely to catch health problems early and get the care and advice that we need to be proactive about our physical health. It’s all common sense stuff — yet, when it comes to mental health, far too few of us take the same basic steps.

Many of us assume that we don’t “need” a therapist unless we have a serious mental health condition. We may stay away because of stigma or ignorance. But the reality is that therapy can be immensely beneficial to folks with all sorts of mental health situations, from those with severe conditions to those who consider themselves quite well-adjusted but happen to need support through a difficult situation.

Why you should have a therapist

Mental health is not a binary thing. You aren’t just “crazy” or “not crazy.” You may suffer from a diagnosable case of depression or anxiety, or you may simply have the occasional tough day. No matter how minor your mental health issues may be, however, it’s likely that you could benefit from therapy.

Therapy can provide insight into the ways you behave and think and why you do so. It can give you new strategies for better handling stress, anxiety, fear, depression, and other conditions and moods. These strategies and insights can improve your relationships with other people in your life, including friends, family members, and romantic partners.

Regular visits to a therapist help you be proactive about your health in ways that are similar to the benefits of working with a primary care physician on your physical health. You may be in a great spot right now, but you never know what future stresses and personal problems might arise. Working with a therapist will expand your emotional toolkit ahead of time. Be proactive about your mental health!

Finding a therapist in your area

“Great,” you might say. “I’m convinced — but where can I find a therapist near me?” That shouldn’t be too tough. You may want to start by speaking to your primary care physician about a possible recommendation or referral. You could also check in with your health insurance provider to see which local therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists are covered by your health insurance policy. If your insurance covers your mental health care, you may find that therapy can be very affordable!

Use your first visit to familiarize yourself with this new environment and with your therapists’ methods and priorities. Share your concerns and your goals, and ask what therapy will look like going forward. An understanding therapist will help you know what to expect as treatment progresses. They are apt to share their general approach to psychotherapy and what it would be like to work with them on an ongoing basis.

You don’t have to remain with the same therapist forever, of course. If you don’t feel that your particular therapist is a good fit, you should feel free to try another. You could even ask your current therapist to recommend another therapist — as a professional, they may be able to (and the mark of a good therapist is that they shouldn’t mind doing so).

Make your mental health care a priority

Mental health care is often shrouded in more mystery compared to physical health care, but it is just as important. In fact, your mental and physical health are actually closely connected! And, just as you use regular visits to a primary care physician to stay proactive about your physical health, you should attend regular therapy sessions to better care for your mental health. Find a therapist near you and get the care and support you deserve!


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