4 Simple Questions to Figure Out: When is it Time for Counseling?
True heroes (in the counseling world) are those that go into counseling when they recognize something is difficult in their lives and they need support.
How does one decide when it is time for counseling and how do you find someone to work with?
Let's jump in to see if I can help you answer those questions.
Ask yourself the following 4 simple questions:
How often is this issue bothering me?
How is this issue affecting my quality of life?
Is this issue causing me or my loved ones a lot of stress?
How could things be better if this issue was resolved?
If you find that this issue is a problem much of the time and causes a lot of stress when the problem arises and nothing you have done is making it better, then perhaps it is time to find someone to talk with.
For example, Dahlia has a brother who is married to a subtly mean woman. Each time their families get together, Dahlia goes into a deep depression because her sister-in-law is very cruel but in quiet ways. They only get together a few times a year, but Dahlia has had enough. She feels crazy and needs help to figure out what to do and how to manage.
Then you have Trevor who feels anxious each time he goes to work. He enjoys his work and cannot figure out what is happening to him. He needs help to understand the anxiety and a plan, tools, or healing to get it to stop.
Your situation may be related to family, work, or other relationships. Once you figured out that counseling could be helpful, then what?
How Do You Find a Therapist?
Finding a therapist can be challenging. Where do you even start to look? Let's review some ideas together:
Word of mouth. Maybe your friend or family has has success with a therapist.
Your church may keep a list of referrals.
Some bigger companies offer EAP (employee assistance providers) counseling. Sometimes private insurance will offer a few free EAP sessions as well.
Ask yourself if the following are important to you: -Do you want a faith based counselor? - Does it matter if they are State-licensed or pastoral licensed? You can read the differences here. - Do you want/need a diagnosis (if you go to a state licensed therapist they have to diagnose you). - Does it matter if they are male or female? - Do you prefer in-person or video? Some therapists have closed their offices and just see people by video.
- Cost? (this fee depends on the education, expertise, and experience of your therapist. (I figured out I have over 13,000 clinical hours in my 20 years of being a therapist!). In my area in 2024 you will pay anywhere from $150 and up for a seasoned counselor. An intern will be around $75 - $90 a session.
So many decisions! So how do you decide?
Ask God to guide you to the right person at this time to help you.
For those that decide you want a state-licensed therapist, go for it! It is for you that I am creating a special journal to help you along in your counseling (yay!). It is a book filled with spiritual tools to help you as you work through your stuff. (This journal will also be a great support to ALL Christians who are in counseling and want some help between sessions (including my own clients!). It is done but being updated. I hope to have it available again by April 1, 2024.
Over the years I have been to a handful of therapists myself. Most have been great and were found by myself on the internet or by referrals from people I trust. A few were not a good fit for me and it was apparent early on. That is definitely disappointing when that occurs, but not the end. There are plenty of great counselors to choose from.
I love my work and I love being the client. There is something very special about someone investing in you, providing a safe place to share, and helping you weed through thoughts and stressors.
Bless you on your journey to heal!