A man lounges on a couch, talking at an open laptop near him. A female therapist is on the other side of the image, sitting in a chair, taking notes in front of an identical laptop. The laptops are back to back, connecting the two people.

Looking into Therapy

Right. Left. Up. Down.

Deciding to start therapy can be a confusing endeavor. Despite this, starting therapy does not have to be overwhelming.

There are steps to take to make it less confusing and daunting. The therapy discussed here is psychotherapy also known as talk therapy.

Psychologist or psychiatrist?

Personally, I see both a psychologist or psychiatrist, but that is a different story.

A psychologist is a person who studies mental states and behaviors. They can also function as a talk therapist. However, psychologists use a variety of therapy types and structures to help their patients.

On the other hand, a psychiatrist is a medical professional that uses medical knowledge to diagnose and treat their patients. Because psychiatrists are physicians, they have the ability to prescribe medication.

Why would someone start therapy?

Making the decision to start therapy is a very personal choice. People choose to start psychotherapy for many reasons.

There are some questions you may ask yourself to see if you feel as though you may benefit from therapy. These questions may include the following:

  • Is your current behavior and activities different than a few months ago or a year ago?
  • Do you spend less time with family/friends?
  • Have there been changes to your mood and interest?

How to find a therapist

There are many ways to go about finding a therapist once you have decided to start therapy.

A referral from your PCP

Some primary care physicians may know therapists and are willing to give their patients a referral.

An insurance-approved list

Your insurance provider will be able to provide a list of both psychologists and psychiatrists that are in-network with them.

This can provide a good starting place by giving you the names of doctors to consider.

Conduct your own research

I find it important to research the doctors to see how they are reviewed by previous patients.

I do not take every little review to heart. But, if there are many negative reviews about the same thing, that is certainly something to keep in mind.

It is important to find out about the doctor themselves; most psychologists have areas of expertise. Some specialize in areas such as childhood trauma, PTSD, etc.

Try virtual appointments like Doctor on Demand

With some psychologists, virtual appointments are available. This allows you to see your therapist in the comfort of your own home.

Of course, this is provided that you feel safe and comfortable having your sessions at home.

Make sure you feel comfortable

An important aspect to remember is that your therapist works for you, just like any other doctor. It is especially important that you are comfortable with the therapist.

If you are not comfortable or do not connect with the therapist, you will not feel comfortable enough to be completely open with them. It took me more than one therapist to find the one I connected with and decided to continue seeing.

Everyone's journey is different

Overall, finding a therapist to work with can help start you down the right path. The methods they use in session can drastically change how you look at your life.

Something to remember is everybody’s journey will be different because everybody has different issues to work out.

But in order to make progress and feel better, you must start your therapy journey.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The H-I-V.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Have you ever been unhoused or insecurely housed?