Counseling, talking treatment, and psychological therapy are all terms for pretty much the same thing: therapy. What comes to mind when we think about therapy is sitting in a cold office in front of a well-dressed professional who is charging you $100 an hour to talk. Generally, our perception is a little outdated.
The trust is that these days, there are therapists for varying budgets, as well as therapy in various methods of delivery. From group therapy in a cafe to text messaging, it comes in all shapes and sizes.
The average cost of therapy in the US is usually between $60 and $120 per session. Sometimes it’s covered by insurance, sometimes it isn’t. As for Medicaid, some types of insurance are covered, some aren’t, and there may be caps to the number of sessions you can receive per month.
So, there’s certainly a cost there, but it seems to have decreased in recent years due to the online therapies. You can start therapy now, receiving the same level of service held by the equally qualified professionals, only they chat over the phone or via text. Generally, these can cost anywhere between $40 and $100 per week.
It’s a shame to have to discuss money when talking about therapy, because everybody could benefit from something as important as improving our mental health. Diagnosed or not diagnosed, we all have some anxieties, relationship issues, or other problems that could be treated by talking to a therapist. With that in mind, here are five things to consider before starting therapy.
Like with all things in life, decide on why you’re undertaking it and what you want to get out of it. There is a case for not needing goals because a therapist can still unpack things for you, but nevertheless, the goals also help the therapist understand where you want to be.
Some example goals that you may want to consider are changes in behavior, such as quitting bad habits or becoming less angry, as well as maintaining better relationships, having better decision making, being able to cope better with anxiety, and so on.
There is no right or wrong reason for having therapy, so don’t worry too much about how typical your goals are. It’s a chance to be introspective prior to that first session and will also help you keep on track to becoming the person you want to be.
The next consideration is one of how you want to have therapy. Studies show that the effectiveness of therapy remains the same whether it’s face to face or online, so this is one weight lifted off the decision you make.
Online therapy is generally common amongst those who find seeking face to face therapy as being daunting or having a stigma attached. Or, simply those who do not have the time or money to travel to it. Online therapy has that advantage where the therapist is more on-demand, being able to respond to text messages wherever you are in the world. It’s very easy to find a therapist online due to the digitized market for it.
Of course, face to face therapy also has some benefits, albeit it comes at a higher cost. Group therapy, for example, is perhaps more functional when done in person as it allows you to connect to one another more. Furthermore, if you are worried about something more serious like schizophrenia, it’s important to seek a face to face psychiatrist. But, if you’re looking for help with anxiety, depression, OCD, and so on, it’s very fast to start therapy online.
Most people have a very positive experience with therapy, but in life, there’s always that yin and yang. There will be times when you don’t feel like going or talking, or that you’re actually leaving the session feeling worse than when you began. This could be because of unhealthy coping mechanisms and reactions to difficult conversations – something that is best treated by therapy. So, consider and accept that things may get worse before they get better.
In fact, it’s possible that at times, you won’t even like your therapist because of this. They may be asking the difficult questions that you usually react negatively to. However, it’s also important to know that you can change your therapist at any time. This is almost as important as the first bit of advice, because not every therapist is created equally and you shouldn’t feel bad about changing therapists. Of course, if you keep changing them, that might be a red flag regarding your judgment.
If you’re not 100% honest with your therapist, you’re not going to get much out of it. The therapy session is a safe space, with 100% confidentiality, making it a very rare opportunity for you to be totally, uncompromisingly honest. You likely know that you won’t be judged before going to therapy, but you really have to train yourself to believe it.
It’s worth doing this before your first session. Consider if you’re up for being completely honest because after all, you’re paying for it and they can’t do their job properly if you’re not showing the real you. Even if you’re ashamed of something unethical or illegal that you regularly do, it’s important to let them know and understand that they will not relay information to anyone else.
After months and months of speaking about the closest, deepest topics imaginable, you might actually become attached to the therapist. It might be possible that you really become dependent on them – some even develop romantic feelings for their therapist.
This is fairly common, but something to consider before starting. Many therapists say this is a sign that the therapy is going well, because you’re feeling both safe and accepted. However, it’s very important that if these feelings impact your daily life, you need to bring them up and retain that 100% honesty. This may feel awkward but it will be the best thing to do. Perhaps the therapist will help identify where your needs in life aren’t being met.