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Your mental health matters. Whether you’re struggling to cope with everyday stresses, relationship issues, or mental illness, therapy can help you feel better. If you’re having trouble, it can help to remind you that you’re not alone—one in four adults in the United States experiences a mental health problem in any given year.
People decide to seek mental healthcare for a myriad of reasons. Some common mental health challenges include:
Everyone feels anxious from time to time—for example, you might feel anxious before a first date or making an important decision. But if feelings of anxiety and intense fear interfere with your daily life, you may be struggling with an anxiety disorder. Common anxiety disorders include social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and specific phobias.
As one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, anxiety disorders are highly treatable. With mental healthcare, individuals with anxiety disorders can manage their symptoms and reduce feelings of anxiety to live a more fulfilling life.
Mild feelings of sadness are typical in everyday life. It’s common—and even healthy—to feel sad or hopeless following a challenging life event or go through a period where things just feel off. However, when feelings of sadness become frequent, long-lasting, and overwhelming, they can interfere with daily life.
Depression involves episodes of low mood that affect an individual’s ability to function in everyday life. Major depressive disorder, also known as clinical depression, involves feelings of sadness or hopelessness, low energy or appetite, sleep issues, and a loss of interest or pleasure. Depression is a highly treatable condition, and the majority of patients with depression respond well to and find relief from their symptoms with a combination of medication and talk therapy.
Many people with an anxiety disorder also experience co-occurring depression, which can exacerbate their symptoms and make recovery more challenging, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Both conditions share similar risk factors and can contribute to each other—with one condition worsening or triggering the other condition’s symptoms.
The best way to treat and learn more about co-occurring anxiety and depression is to seek individualized, long-term mental healthcare from a qualified mental health provider. Psychotherapy can help individuals focus on mindfulness and learn healthy coping strategies to manage their mental well-being.
Whether romantic or platonic, relationships are essential to all of us. Some conflict is normal in any relationship. However, when relationship issues become intense or frequent, they can lead to common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Sometimes, relationship conflicts can lead to emotional and physical abuse.
Relationship issues come in many different forms, but some common situations include financial problems, trust issues, communication issues, and sex and intimacy struggles. If you’re experiencing stress or conflict in a relationship, working with a licensed psychologist, licensed social worker, licensed professional counselor (LPC), or licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) can help.
It’s normal to feel bored, stressed, anxious, and frustrated about your own work or career path from time to time. While a moderate stress level can keep you motivated or engaged in your work, regularly experiencing intense stress can interfere with your professional goals, relationships, and personal life.
Work stress comes in countless forms, but some everyday situations include being underpaid, conflicts with coworkers, burnout, unhealthy work-life balance, and workplace discrimination or harassment. If you’re dealing with work or career challenges, you might feel overwhelmed, have difficulty relaxing, or experience other common mental health symptoms, such as anxiety or depression.
In addition to broader mental health problems, talk therapy can help you cope with more specific issues, such as:
It’s essential to keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of mental health problems. If you’re experiencing a particular issue that is not listed here, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a mental illness to benefit from therapy. If the problems in your life make it harder for you to function or feel good, therapy can make a big difference. You don’t have to wait until you’re suffering to seek help—even if you’re not sure if treatment would help, it couldn’t hurt to explore your options.
According to the American Psychological Association, you may benefit from therapy if:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT helps patients identify and change unhelpful thinking and behavioral patterns. Numerous studies suggest that CBT leads to significant improvement in daily functioning and quality of life. CBT is an effective treatment for a wide range of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, substance use, and relationship problems.
Psychodynamic therapy: Psychodynamic therapy focuses on the psychological roots of emotional suffering through self-reflection and self-examination. Psychodynamic therapy helps patients alleviate mental health symptoms, understand patterns in thinking and behavior, and live healthier lives. Psychodynamic psychotherapy’s effectiveness has been studied extensively. It is effective, and the gains achieved in therapy last and often continue to increase even after treatment has concluded.
Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT): IPT helps patients address interpersonal problems, including social withdrawal and relationship problems. IPT is also helpful in helping patients manage grief, navigate challenging life transitions, and deal with interpersonal disputes. IPT can help treat depression, eating disorders, addiction, and other mood disorders.
Most people who seek professional help feel better. According to Mental Health America, more than 80% of patients treated for depression improve, while treatment for panic disorders has a 90% success rate.
While many people use search engines like Google to search for a new therapist, others ask their primary care doctor or family practitioner for an in-network referral. However, a referral isn’t required to meet with a therapist. Many insurance providers also provide therapist directories to search by location, type of therapy, and specialization.
According to a growing body of research, the quality of the relationship between you and your therapist can significantly affect your treatment. As a result, it’s crucial to place your mental health in the right person’s hands to get the most out of your treatment. Although demographic attributes might not come to mind when searching for a new therapist, consider your personal preferences and requirements to find the best therapist.
To narrow down your list of potential therapists, WithTherapy recommends considering the following preferences:
It’s up to you to think about the type of therapist you would feel most comfortable opening up to. If you don’t have any preferences or requirements, it can be helpful to consider the credentials, certificates, licenses, and specialties of potential therapists.
For example, if you’re seeking mental healthcare for a specific issue or mental illness, narrow your search to specialists in that area. If you’re struggling with PTSD, consider searching for therapists with experience in trauma and who can give you their professional opinion on eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Meanwhile, if you’re experiencing relationship issues, you might choose to search for a professional counselor with experience in family systems therapy.
Finding a great match is essential, but there are other essential considerations to consider. One consideration is which providers accept your insurance provider and what type of coverage you have. Additionally, you’ll need to navigate scheduling and geographic constraints.
In addition to preferences and credentials, be sure to consider:
Unlike other types of healthcare, many mental health providers do not provide a quick scheduling process, and many patients face long wait times and limited access to in-person mental health services. If you have a more flexible schedule, making an appointment with a therapist is easier. While early morning and evening appointments are typically in high demand, afternoon openings are easier to get.
If you have a busy schedule, online therapy is a convenient alternative to in-person therapy sessions. With online therapy services like WithTherapy, patients can choose a treatment time that works with their preferred schedule.
Therapy is expensive in the United States. If you’re not sure where to start, it can be helpful to research the average cost of therapy for your zip code. If you live in a major city like New York City or San Francisco, mental health care fees tend to be higher.
If you’re insured, using your insurance can help make therapy more affordable. Before starting your search, check with your insurance provider to understand what kind of coverage your insurer provides for mental healthcare. Depending on where you live, it’s important to keep in mind that roughly 50% of mental health providers don’t directly accept insurance.
For the most affordable therapy, use your insurance company’s therapist directory to find an in-network therapist. If your insurance provider requires working with an in-network therapist, keep in mind that this may limit your search for a mental health provider, and it may take longer to find someone who fits your preferences and requirements.
On the other hand, if you choose an out-of-network therapist, you may have to submit a claim to your insurance or pay a discounted rate upfront. Depending on your out-of-network benefits, you may be able to see any licensed mental health provider.
If you don’t have health insurance, it’s still possible to find affordable therapy. Many private practice therapists offer affordable options, such as sliding-scale therapy sessions or lower fees for uninsured patients. Additionally, many interns at community clinics provide free or low-cost mental health services.
If you’re interested in a specific type of therapy or counseling, it can be helpful to search for a mental health provider with the relevant training and experience. There are a few different types of therapists that are licensed to provide mental health care:
Before your first session, set aside some time to assess your expectations. During therapy, you can be vulnerable, express your feelings, and navigate specific issues with a mental health professional.
However, there’s no rule about how quickly you’ll decide whether you and your therapist are a good match. Although you might have a gut feeling during your first phone call or within the first few sessions, remind yourself that your intuition isn’t always right. If you’re not sure whether therapy is right for you in the first place—or if your hopes and expectations on therapy aren’t met right away—it can be worthwhile to ask yourself why you feel this way.
For example, you might feel like your therapist should have all the answers because of their training in psychology. On the other hand, you might feel like they should accept your flaws without hesitation, or that they should offer advice to help you feel more understood.
Ultimately, finding the best therapist is a matter of trial and error. For guidance during your first appointment, ask yourself the following questions:
Reflect on how vital these elements are to you, and remind yourself that the process of therapy involves being open to new experiences and finding healthier ways of doing things.
As you continue to narrow your search, consider scheduling initial consultations with potential therapists to discuss their theoretical orientation (that is, their general approach to how people get better when facing struggles) and your hopes and expectations. There are a lot of therapists out there, so yYou might try meeting with a few different people or scheduling multiple consultations before finding a good fit—and that’s normal.
Everyone wants to feel better, but improving your mental health takes time and requires vulnerability. If you have a question, concern, or fear about anything during the therapy process—from your therapist’s credentials to different types of therapy—it’s essential to be open and honest with your therapist. If you don’t feel like you can open up about personal information to your therapist after a couple of sessions, this could be a red flag. Above all else, asking questions and receiving direct answers is fundamental to building a strong therapeutic relationship.
Finding the right therapist is extremely important. Whether you’re experiencing symptoms for the first time or struggling to cope with stress, taking the time and effort to find a good therapist can help you make the most out of your mental health treatment.
To find the best therapist, reach out to a clinical psychologist, clinician, social worker, or counselor through WithTherapy. At WithTherapy, we connect each patient to a shortlist of mental health professionals based on your personal preferences, requirements, and expectations about the therapy process. One of the qualified therapists on the WithTherapy platform will help you gain insight into your mental health, explore different types of therapy, and learn healthy coping mechanisms.