The MLRA Therapy Blog

Insights and ideas from the therapist team at Meghan L. Reitz and Associates.

Back to Basics: What is Therapy?

A large amount of people often wonder what true mental health therapy and counseling is. These concepts can be quite ambiguous, and there are so many different approaches to therapy that it can seem a little overwhelming and confusing. Many would agree that therapy is an inexact science in that there isn't one right or wrong way to handle particular issues. In most cases, it is very individualistic depending on a person's personality traits, genetics, upbringing, social economic status, culture, religion, ethnicity, and so on and so forth.

So how is a lay person to know what he/she should be looking for when searching for the right counselor or therapist? It does truly depend on the person. You should start by identifying what you hope to gain out of therapy. Are you looking to cope with grief? Are you trying to manage a behaviorally challenged son or daughter? Are you having marital problems? Making sure that you have a good grasp on what you want to change or improve on in your situation is key to finding the right fit in a therapist.

The next step is to do a little research. Contact your insurance carrier for referrals. Look up therapists in your area via your internet search engine. Take a careful look at the options you have in front of you. You will want to have a handle on how much you can afford to pay. Take note of the location and hours of the person you are interested in seeing. Would you feel more comfortable seeing a male versus a female? What is the therapist's areas of expertise? Do they fit with what you are trying to work on in your life?

Make an appointment. I always encourage people to make the jump. You will never know until you try. Now remember, every person has their own personalities, quirks, and abilities. Sometimes it takes a little trial and error in finding the right fit in a therapist. Do not get discouraged if you feel like something does not click after a few sessions. A good therapist will also be aware of these things and should be checking in with you on how you feel things are going. It does not mean there is something wrong with a therapist if you are having difficulty meshing with him/her. It just means you need to find someone that better suits your tastes. It is important to feel comfortable with your therapist as you will need to be honest and open in order to get the most out of your treatment.

Typically therapists will explain their theoretical orientation towards therapy in the initial session.  What this means is that, again, there are many different approaches to dealing with certain stressors, issues, and mental health concerns. A few different, but common approaches to be on the look-out for are:

-Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

-Psychodynamic Therapy

-Person-Centered Therapy



Don't know exactly what these entail? That's ok. Educate yourself by looking them up via the internet. Ask your therapist to explain what his/her approach will look like for you and your treatment. All therapies that are in good standing should encompass confidentiality, caring, a level of being non-judgmental, and a place where YOU, the client, feel HEARD. As this post is just a stepping stone in the right direction to finding your fit within the world of therapy, remember that there are a lot of resources out there. Sometimes the hardest step is making that first phone call and setting up an appointment. It can definitely be well-worth it.


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