Tips For Scheduling Your Therapy Appointment

Mental health is the new black, more and more people are dismissing the stigma of "If you are in therapy, you are CRAZY!" and finding a therapist to work on healing from past trauma, to rekindle the spark in their relationship, to figure out what their demons have been feeding on so they can starve them out, and to learn life skills that will empower them and help them to beat anxiety, depression, addictions, and to better handle the everyday stressors of life. It is no different than going to a doctor when you have a sinus infection or a broken leg, or seeing a dentist when you chip a tooth, people are beginning to understand that there is a significant mind-body connection and scientific studies show that mental stress is damaging to the physical body. It is more common than ever now for people to pay closer attention to their blood pressure, cholesterol, stress management skills, and emotional well-being to stay as healthy as possible in body, mind, and spirit. Doctors, dentists, chiropractors, and therapists are called upon daily to treat people who are experiencing an ailment that disrupts the quality of their life. However, people seem to go about the scheduling process differently based on which professional they are scheduling with.

When scheduling to see a doctor or dentist it is common for the last appointment to be at 5:00pm because these professionals go home each day around that time. It is also common to have to wait to get in with doctors and dentists, sometimes the first available appointment is a month away. People often take whatever appointment they can get in order to get relief, and this means adjusting their schedule at work so that they can make it to that appointment. The process to see a therapist is not much different. First one has to search for a therapist on sites such as Psychology Today or by googling 'Therapist in (your town)'. Next one has to call the therapist he or she has chosen and ask for an appointment. Keep in mind that many therapists work 9am to 5pm and have weekends off, however there are some who work until 8pm and on weekends. It is important to read through your potential therapist's profile to find out if he or she accepts your insurance, what his or her hours of operation are, and what he or she specializes in to determine if you and this therapist will be a good fit.

Tips for Scheduling your first appointment:

  • Search profiles (Psychology Today) and websites to find a therapist who accepts your insurance or charges private pay fees per session that are affordable for you, look for sliding scale options, specializations, and hours of operation. If the therapist is not a good fit for your schedule you can ask for a referral.
  • Put in your time off request at work so that you can meet your therapist, complete your treatment plan together, and decide how often you can come to sessions (once a week, once every other week, etc.).
  • Come to your first session with a few key goals in mind (changes you want to make in yourself/ skills you want to learn to manage anger/depression/anxiety/stress)
  • After your initial session, take the rest of the day to reward yourself and relax. You have just taken a big step toward healing and that takes bravery, motivation, and commitment to personal growth. . . . which is likely what your therapist listed as your strengths! Go YOU!!! Good Job!!

Remember, mental health is just as important as physical health. The mind-body connection is scientifically proven, poor mental health equals poor physical health. The stigma on metal health is lifting, little by little, by people just like you who are okay with being a human who has feelings, quirks, thoughts, triggers, and fears. Every human experiences times of high stress, depression, and anxiety at some point in their lives. Nobody is perfect and if somebody portrays themselves as such. . . I, as a therapist, would view that person the same way I would view someone who denies having a broken leg and painfully walks on it until one day he or she passes out from the pain and is rushed to the emergency room in crisis. Even therapists go to therapy! I hope these tips were helpful for you and you find a therapist who is a good fit for your wallet and your schedule!!

Happiness IS all in your head!!

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Elizabeth Choate, MS, LMFT


Elizabeth Choate


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