How do I know if I need therapy?
- Have you noticed that you are not feeling like yourself? (e.g. sleeping more/less, eating more/less, socializing less, moody, not able to focus, using drugs or alcohol more)
- Are you having more difficulty managing your life at work or school? (e.g. tardiness, forgetful, overwhelmed)
- Are you feeling unsatisfied in your relationships with family, romantic partners, co-workers or others?
- Have your friends/family suggested that you get some help?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, therapy could be helpful for you right now. Answering ‘yes’ does not mean you are ‘weak,’ ‘incompetent,’ or ‘incapable.’ In fact, recognizing that you may need support at this time of your life means the opposite. It takes wisdom to recognize your needs and do what it takes to meet them. Strength lies in one’s capacity to be vulnerable – think about it.
There are so many therapists, how do I know which one to choose?
One of the smartest things I ever heard is what I call “therapist shopping.” Similar to shopping for a car, gym, insurance company, manicurist etc., I encourage everyone to try a few before deciding. Each therapist is their own unique blend of personality, educational background, interaction style, belief system, and theoretical orientation so not every therapist is a good fit for every client. Take time to speak with a few therapists to gauge who would best fit your needs. Also, don’t feel pressured to start seeing the first therapist you meet in person. If you can, try speaking to a few like you would a medical doctor when you want a second opinion.
What’s the difference between an M.D., MFCC, LMFT, PsyD, PhD and LCSW?
If you are curious about the difference between these credentials, please check out Dr. Jim Hutt’s website. He does a good job of breaking it down. This list is not exhaustive and you may see other credentials in your search. All of the above are able to provide counseling/therapy as long as they are licensed or working under the supervision of a licensed clinician in the state with which they reside.
If this therapists graduated from an ivy league/prestigious university, that must mean they are great, right?
This may or may not be true. But keep in mind that finding a good therapist for you is not about finding a clinician who graduated from a prestigious university – it’s more about finding someone who can meet your needs and who is a good fit for you.
Will it be worth my time/energy/money?
Well, I am obviously biased when I say ‘of course!’ However, I will say that overall clients gain as much as they commit to the work. For some clients, having 1-3 sessions is sufficient; for others, therapy will be a lifelong commitment just like their physical health. A friend of mine shared with me that she heard someone say that going to therapy is like going to the gym and working out your soul. I’ve always thought of it as a check-up for the mind and heart. So depending on what your needs are right now, you may have a brief therapy experience just to have support coping with something, or you may have a long term therapy experience with someone who can support and witness your life. There are many factors contributing to the outcome of therapy but overall, research has found that a majority (75%) of clients are measurably improved after therapy (Howard et al., 1986).
I am sure I haven’t answered all of your questions but I hope that some of this has been useful. To find out more about more information about my practice, read on or contact me. You can also check out my referral network.
Thank you for reading.
Jennifer T. Young | Licensed Psychologist
CALIFORNIA| PSY 24664
WASHINGTON D.C. | PSY 1001223