Why you should make therapy a goal and an investment for 2018.


New Year’s Resolutions are so 2017. Actually, they’re way older than that. The tradition is linked back to Babylonian times, some 4,000 years ago (according to Wiki). While I’m first to say I love history, I also say it’s time to rethink this whole “resolution” thing. Who actually sticks to their resolutions, anyway? Well, some of you do, and kudos to those of you who do! Really, serious kudos to you, that’s no small feat!

It’s okay if you’re like me, and the other 92% of people who don’t achieve their New Year’s resolution (according to Forbes). I know I’ve always struggled with resolving to do something in the New Year. It seems so daunting. It also gives me a sense of failure when I inevitably don’t go to the gym every day or eat strictly organic meals, or whatever it is that I resolved to do that year.

I found myself giving up on my resolution before I really even started my resolution. Again, I wasn’t alone Business Insider says 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. At least I wasn’t alone (and neither are you!) If I had resolved to write this for you and get it onto the website before late January, I might have already given up because February is right around the corner!

This is why I shifted my language from “resolutions” to “goals” and “investments” in myself. See resolutions, by definition, are firm decisions to do or not do something. Which to me, leaves a lot of room for failure and discouragement.

Whereas a goal is an aim for the desired result. As long as I’m working toward that goal, I’m not failing. Which keep me encouraged to keep at it. An investment is putting time or money into something hoping for returns greater than what was put in. And who doesn’t want to get out more than what they put in?

Plus, with goals I can create to-do lists to help me reach my goals. And I LOVE the satisfaction of checking items off of my to-do lists. Even better, knowing I will get something more in return from my investments keep me encouraged to achieve my goals.


Going to therapy is an investment in yourself, but the whole process can seem daunting. So I’m here to give you a little encouragement and insight into taking the first steps and what to expect throughout the process of finding a therapist and getting in the door of the first appointment. Even though the process isn’t as daunting as it may seem, taking the first step to going to therapy is courageous.

It’s sort of like resolving to go to the gym for your resolution. Has anyone reading this resolved to do that? (*raises hand*) First you have to decide which gym to go to. For some of you, that’s an easy step. For others, it’s what keeps you from going in the first place.

Finding a therapist can feel just as intimidating. Here are some tips to help.

Therapy is all about the relationship you create with your therapist. There are tons of therapy practices out there. Do you want one close to work? Close to home? Far away in case you run into someone you know because you still feel stigmatized for even thinking about going to therapy? Have weekend availabilities?

A quick Google search for “therapists in {insert zip code here}” will likely bring up TONS of results. You can also ask a trusted individual if they have any recommendations or starting points.

After your initial Google search, you may feel overwhelmed with options. Like “Now I’ve started my search, but this is a LOT!” Individual therapists, couples/marriage therapists, faith-based therapists, a therapist for anger, anxiety, depression, trauma. I could fill up an entire page just on the different specialties. And you may be thinking “oh my gosh, I need a therapist for all of these things!”

Much like the gym analogy I am sticking with, you may think “wait, what do I actually want to get out of going to the gym?” To lose those last 10, 20, or 50 lbs? Train for a race? Becomes stronger? More flexible? Take classes? Work with a personal trainer?


Take this time to ask yourself what is you’d like to get out of therapy. There is no right or wrong answer. Let me say it again, there is no right or wrong answer!

Therapy can help in many different ways. Have you felt ill-equipped to manage close relationships but don’t know why or have the tools to feel more equipped? Have you not been feeling yourself lately? Do you want to live more genuinely and have more peace within yourself and with loved ones? Are you ready to dig a little deeper into the patterns that sustain your unhappiness? Is there a traumatic event in your life that you never processed? Or is there something else entirely, but you know you’re not living the life you want to live?

Again, these are not the only reasons one seeks therapy, and it’s more than okay if none of these scenarios apply to you.

After you’ve done a little bit of soul searching, perhaps you have at least a vague (or maybe very specific) idea of what you’d like to get out of therapy. Go back to that initial google search and start reading about the potential therapists.

You can also read therapists profiles on sites like psychology today and good therapy.

See anyone who you might click with on one of these websites? Give them a call!


Phone calls are a great first point of contact with any potential therapist. You’ll get a feel for who they are, and you can ask them questions about their practice (policies and fees), how they approach therapy (are they going to focus on your past? Are they brief interventionists that build on your innate strengths? Do they implement artistic strategies?), and any other questions you may have.

Just remember, it’s a first contact. It’s okay to go a little into detail about why you’re seeking therapy, but don’t divulge everything over the phone, even if you feel tempted to! Actually feeling tempted to get right into it can be a good sign that you are already establishing rapport.

But it’s also okay if you’re not. If you’re not jiving with the therapist you’re speaking to on the phone, or if what you’re looking for is out of their scope of practice, ask them for referrals. Part of a therapist’s job is to network and be able to help you get to the resources you need if they are not able to provide them for you.


Okay, so you’ve gotten over some of the initial barriers to starting therapy. If you schedule a first appointment but don’t know what to expect, that’s okay! Some potential clients will do all of this work, make an appointment and then decide things aren’t really that bad, or perhaps therapy isn’t really for them. Any excuse to not keep the appointment.

Sound familiar? Maybe like any excuse to not get to the gym that day? I’ve been there, and am definitely not shaming you.

I would, however, encourage you to stick with the initial appointment. Therapists won’t be asking you your innermost secrets right away.

Most first sessions are going over paperwork (or perhaps you’ve done that online already), and getting a general history of who you are as a person. You have the right to go into as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable.

You don’t have to know your goals of therapy right away. Just as you are getting to know your therapist, your therapist is getting to know you, too. Initially, it’s all about building rapport with your therapist, feeling heard, really heard by them.

And you’re not locked into staying with a particular therapist forever (unlike a gym membership! Not that I’m discouraging you from getting a gym membership. Physical health is intricately intertwined with psychological health.)

BUT! If you find you’re not connecting with your therapist after a few sessions, have a conversation with them about what’s not working. It is absolutely your right to find someone who provides you with what you need to get to where you want to be. Again, it’s a relationship, the therapeutic process. You probably haven’t kept every relationship in your life, professionally, friendly, or otherwise. It’s okay. As therapists, we want to make sure you are getting what you need in the long haul.


I will end this by saying, therapy is an investment in yourself. Whatever it is you’re looking for. As someone who is an Associate Professional Counselor, and as a human who has been in therapy before, I encourage you to make it a goal to invest in yourself. It is worth it.

- And PS - So is the gym! I’m not knocking getting physically healthy in any way shape or form.