You’ve decided to invest in a therapist. Whether the reason was the stress of the holidays or long-term emotions you need help working through, psychotherapy is specialized to treat whatever burdens you.
Once you decide to start the therapist search, you’ve entered one of the most critical stages in your wellness journey. The next step is deciding who is the right one for you. After that, and often more intimidating, is reaching out.
We’re here to help you learn how to email a therapist for the first time.
How to Get a Therapist Consultation
Once you identify the therapist you want to reach out to, the first email should be brief. Think of it like meeting a new work colleague. You’ll probably introduce yourself by your name and occupation, but you won’t fully describe your job or make small talk about family.
Most therapists and counselors will do a brief intake session called a consultation. The consultation exists to see if the two of you will be a good fit for each other. As much as you want to make sure you feel safe and comfortable with a therapist, they want to make sure they can help you as much as you need.
Keep it Brief
This initial message to get the therapist consultation can be brief since you’re just trying to get in the door. The first message can be as simple as:
I have been struggling with anxious feelings and would like help working through them. When do you have availability for a consultation?”
This way, you can see if they have space for new patients and ensure that their specialties align with your concerns. They may ask you to elaborate further by email or wait to talk more during the consultation.
It’s Okay If You Can’t Find All the Words
One of the purposes of therapy is to identify the feelings that trouble you. Many patients might be able to put names on their issues because of past experiences or research, but it’s okay if you aren’t there yet.
A qualified therapist can guide you through your thoughts and feelings. You might not be able to describe yourself more than “I’ve been sad for a long time.” Your therapist will ask guiding questions to find more descriptors and determine when and why it started.
Think of it this way. If you go to the doctor with a stomach ache, they’ll ask how much pain you’re in, where it hurts, when it started, and if you’ve changed your diet recently. They don’t expect you to know what’s happening as soon as you walk in.
The same happens in therapy. You only need to know enough to get started. Light research can help you put a name on some emotions, but be wary of taking it too far and self-diagnosing.
What to Talk About with Your Therapist
You’ve sent the email and scheduled the consultation. Now it’s time for you and your therapist to get to know each other. If you’re wondering how to talk to a therapist, the best answer is to let your thoughts flow. They’ll probably have you start with the issue you initially sought help for, then guide you from there.
After the initial consultation, the therapist might create a plan for future sessions. We understand it can be hard to get to know someone after such a short time. Schedule your first official session only if you feel continuing to see this person will benefit you.
Other Things to Consider
Besides your mental wellness, there are other things to consider before or during the initial consultation. One is the cost. Ask whether the provider accepts your insurance. If not, clarify how much you’ll have to pay out of pocket.
It Might Take Some Trial and Error
Perhaps one of the most challenging realities about therapy is that it’s like trying on clothes—It’s not always going to be a perfect fit. Use the consultation to check the vibes of the therapist.
You’ll want to find someone who will allow you to feel safe talking about your problems, thoughts, and feelings. Yes, opening up emotionally to a stranger is difficult, but a good therapist will make it a little easier.
If you don’t feel safe being vulnerable, it’s okay to politely let the therapist know that you two aren’t a good match. Unfortunately, that means you need to start the process over, but finding someone compassionate and comforting will help you get the most out of treatment.
Reach Out. Show Up. Feel Better.
We’re proud of you for even getting this far and learning to email a therapist for the first time. Each step you take towards wellness is an accomplishment. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We’ll pair you with a caring, qualified counselor who fits your personality and specialized needs.
Remember that no matter what brings you in, you can feel better. Inner Balance can help you get there.