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What to Expect: Beginning Therapy

What to Expect: Beginning Therapy, by Cody Seehagen

Beginning therapy can be a daunting and sometimes frightening task. Here is an example of what your first experience might look like, outlined in four simple steps:

  1. Recognize
  2. Search
  3. Select 
  4. Attend


It was in April 2019, When I came to the realization that I needed help, I was experiencing anxiety and frequent panic attacks doing normal day-to-day tasks. Due to social stigmas around mental health, it was hard for me to accept that I needed help. But once I came to the realization that I couldn’t do this alone; everything became clearer and I found hope that I would push through these challenges. So, I began my mental health journey and started searching.

When beginning therapy, I found it somewhat difficult to find a therapist. Some therapist hours didn’t fit into my busy schedule, others would only see a certain type of patient, and some were clearly out of my price range. So, some of the things you should be aware of while searching for a therapist are availability, personal schedule, location, and of course price.

One resource that I found most valuable was my health insurance company. Most insurance companies have resources that assist in locating practices near you. Usually, this is the best and most convenient method because they will most likely be covered by your plan. In the case that you’re not covered by an insurance provider, there are many other resources in the community that exist and may be ready and willing to help. If your insurance doesn’t offer a service to help you find a practice, the internet is the next best thing! Try searching “therapists near me”, this will bring up a broad list of practices that specialize in many different areas of mental health.

Step 3 – SELECT

Once you’ve found a practice near you, the next step is to select a therapist. I’ve found that it is important to find a therapist that shares your same values. It is common for therapists to post a bio on their practice’s website so during your search for a therapist pay attention to what they say in their bio and try to identify similar values that you hold dear. Religion, family, marriage, friendship, honesty, or loyalty are just a few examples of values. Therapist fit is potentially the most difficult challenge in beginning therapy, but once you find a therapist that you work well with, it is a GAME CHANGER!

A person walks up some concrete steps

Step 4 – ATTEND

Now you have found a practice, selected a therapist, and are ready to make your first appointment. Plan on arriving about 15-20 minutes early as you will need to fill out some personal information such as name, DOB, insurance, and medical history. During the introductory session of the therapy, your therapist will be filling out something that’s called a DSM (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual). This may lead to other forms they will fill out with you, although this depends on the treatment you are needing and/or seeking. The DSM helps the therapist record your symptoms and ask the proper questions for diagnosis. This is just a tool to ensure they are well equipped to support and help you in the areas that you need. When beginning therapy, the main purpose of the first appointment is for introductions and getting to know each other. Be open and honest with your therapist.

Begin Your Therapy with Bravery

That’s it! It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3, 4. You can do this! It is time to be brave and find hope in seeking support! Bravery isn’t always overcoming some huge life-threatening challenge, bravery is vulnerability, openness, and kindness. So be brave, and begin by sharing your story with our Overt community, support others, show them there is hope, and donate if you are able. Be Brave.

Codee Seehagen 

Codee grew up in Mesa, Arizona, and graduated from Utah Valley University with a degree in International Business. His passion for mental health comes from personally experiencing the challenges that anxiety and other mental or social pressures create in our day-to-day lives. 

If you or anyone you know is facing mental health challenges and needs support, we can help you.

You can share how you’re feeling or about your experience, or apply to our subsidized therapy program.