Many of us here in Arizona are realizing that we are not feeling our best right now. For some of us it is the pressure of stress or burnout, while for others it is dealing with chronic issues such as anxiety or depression. For most of us we realize that we could use a mental health tune-up to move from surviving to thriving but don’t know where to go for help. Navigating mental health systems and finding a good therapist can seem complicated and the last thing we want to add to our already full plates. This means it is important to ask good questions before choosing a therapist or therapy program.

Understanding Different Types of Therapy

There are many different methods of therapy we might run across. Therapy is a very personal process and the better we understand ourselves and our wants and needs the more effective any therapy will be. There are a wide range of options that are available to us so if the classic image of sitting on a sofa and simply talking leaves us cold we can seek out therapies that fit our personality better. To have the best experience we need to have some clarity around what we want from therapy.

There are more therapy styles than we could ever imagine. Therapy might look like experiential therapy, where we might be asked to re-enact challenging experiences we have had in a safe and controlled setting. Therapy might look like cognitive behavioral therapy where we might focus on the interplay between our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Therapy can also look like art therapy, music therapy, or even animal therapy.

Finding The Perfect Therapist

Anyone who has gone to therapy will tell you a good experience comes down to finding a therapist who is a good fit. This can include everything from the populations the therapist is comfortable working with to the style of therapy that a therapist uses Often it can take a while to find what we really need from our therapist. It also takes time to know how we best respond to therapy. Some of us want someone who will simply listen much of the time while others want more interactions.

No matter what type of therapist you try, if it is not a good fit it is important to acknowledge that and seek out another therapist who might be a better fit. This also includes finding a therapist who can meet us where we are either in person, or virtually via zoom, phone calls or even by text. While we might worry about disappointing a therapist in the end, they want a productive relationship as much as we do. If we find that the therapist we have is not a good fit we can always ask if they know anyone else who might be a better fit for our context. Finding a therapist is a process and it is important that we do not allow one experience to put us off therapy.

Mental Health Practices We Can Do At Home

Sometimes for financial or cultural reasons, going to see a therapist is just not in the cards. In these cases, it is important that we focus on the self-care aspect of maintaining mental health. For example when Antoni Porowski visited ASU he spoke about the role rest played in his mental health. Others have spoken about the importance of making both physical spaces and mental spaces where we feel safe to be ourselves and take a moment to pause and reflect. No matter how busy we are or what we are doing in our lives it is important that we invest in ourselves by practicing self-care.

When choosing therapy, it often comes down to understanding all the therapy options we have as well as all the different types of therapists we might experience. No matter who we are, what we have experienced, or what we hope to get from therapy there is a style that will be a great fit for us. We can’t let preconceived ideas about what therapy is keep us from experiencing the wide range of benefits that therapy can have on our life, our relationships, and even how we see the world.