Your mental and physical wellness go hand-in-hand. If either is out of whack, both will suffer. When your mental health is taking a toll on the physical, consider finding a therapist that can help get you through life’s greatest obstacles. In doing so, you’ll be better able to take care of all aspects of your health.
Today, we discuss how to be your own best advocate by choosing a therapist that’s aligned with your needs.
Before You Begin Your Search
Before you start looking for a therapist, it’s important to look for ways to make healthy changes so that you can clear your mind and truly connect with your therapy provider. A few ways to do this are to exercise more and have your medical records organized ahead of time.
Exercising more puts you in a better mental state to articulate your thoughts. Even if you don’t have that much time to work out, you can still spend your lunch break moving your feet or simply take the elevator and instead of the stairs when you have a choice.
If you’re seeing a therapist, you may have other healthcare providers that can contribute information that your therapist may find relevant. Make sure they have these documents as quickly as possible, which will make it easier for you to get an appointment and then share these records with others. The easiest way to hold onto your medical records is to save them as PDFs.
Choosing the Right Therapist
A few tips to help you find the right therapist so that you can feel truly comfortable to open up about all of your mental and physical health struggles are:
- Do your research. Look online for therapists in your area. Make sure to read their biographies and, importantly, reviews from past patients. Make sure they specialize in the emotional condition you need treated the most.
- Consider their communication style. No two people communicate exactly the same, but certain communication styles don’t lend well to others. According to Alvernia University, there are four primary communication style types. These are passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive. If you are passive, you may not work well with the therapist who has an aggressive personality.
- Go with your gut. The Milestones blog says it best, “Discomfort is a feeling within your body attempting to communicate with you.” Even if you don’t want to listen to your mind when it says you are not comfortable (or are fully comfortable) with someone, go with your gut. Your body will react, and you will instinctively know after one or two sessions if it’s a good fit.
- Discuss their approach. There are many different approaches in therapy, and you may do better with one versus the other. Decide if you’re looking for someone that focuses on cognitive-behavioral therapy or that takes a more humanistic or psychodynamic.
Once you find the perfect therapist for you, be as open and forthcoming with them as possible. It’s only by breaking out of your comfort zone and telling the entire story of your life that you can reclaim the aspects of your mental health you’ve lost. Before you look for therapists, make a few changes that make you more open to being open. Then, have all of your documents ready to go so that you can share all with your mental health provider. It’s not always going to be easy, but having a therapist by your side is one of the best ways to take control of your own physical and mental well-being.