As this is my inaugural blog ( and how fitting in a Presidential inaugural year) I would like to address a fairly basic issue; that is; who should consider going into therapy. Also, given the tragic events of the past weeks in Sandy Hook Elementary School and how these events have re energized a public discourse about mental health, a frank discussion about therapy seems to be in order.
In the interest of full disclosure I must report that I have been in therapy myself, both before and during my career as a clinical psychologist. Thus, I admit to a bias toward seeking help rather than avoiding it. That being said, there are many benefits to seeking therapy, finding a good therapist with whom you can relate and, together, you and your therapist can collaborate to promote real change and growth in your life.
First, allow me to address the objections to therapy that I encounter in my daily travels. There are the practical matters, such as time and cost. Making time for therapy is a subjective matter; it can seem as though one does not have time, but I would counter with this question: is 45 minutes ( plus travel time) once a week a worthwhile investment to make in your emotional well being? The question of cost is a real one and I am sensitive to this. Many therapists do not take insurance and this can be a hindrance. Many of us, however do work on a sliding scale. Additionally there are low cost clinics associated with training centers and graduate programs that are available. It can seem daunting to try and find a therapist once you have made the initial decision, but there are several resources online ( the Internet is a wonderful thing!) including your state psychological association, the American Psychological Association's website and the various websites of clinics in your area, all of which are informative and can direct you in your search.
Having said all, you can still have doubts that can ( and most likely will) creep up if the search for a therapist gets difficult in any way. Those reasons to give up on the idea of therapy are more emotional and have more impact on your decision. I'll address these reasons in “Act II–Emotional Obstacles.”