Sometimes the people who need therapy the most are the very people who find it hardest to seek help. They’re afraid they’re wasting the therapist’s time. They’re afraid they’re wasting their own or their loved one’s money. They’re afraid of exposing their deepest selves—and of trying and failing. No one likes change, even if it’s possible it will be a good change. Investing your time, money and emotional energy takes a leap of faith. And courage.

So how do you muster the courage to seek the therapy you need?

Take Baby Steps.

Some people find comfort in investigating therapists on the Internet. You can take as long as you like to do this without making a commitment. So take your time. Take one baby step at a time. Find a licensed therapist in your area. I’m in Orange County.

Read about the therapist’s credentials and background. Find out what services she specializes in. See if other people have commented on their experience with her. Does she spell out costs clearly and concisely? Does she have enough information on her website to give you an idea of who she is and how you may interact with her?

When you are familiar enough with a therapist you like, e-mail her with questions you may have. See what kind of response you get. If you’re satisfied, you may want to pursue it further with a phone call. Listen to her voice. Hear the way she responds to you. If she seems empathetic, and like someone you can trust, then you might want to go further and make an appointment.

But you don’t have to. Take your time.

Ask Yourself the Ultimate Question.

Ultimately you should remember that while this therapist may not work out for you, it’s not the end of the world. There are other therapists you can try. Ask yourself what is the worst possible thing that could happen? That you tried and it didn’t work out. You will still be fine, and you will be no worse off than you were when you started. In fact, you will be better off because you will know what kind of therapist you don’t want. So you can further your search armed with more information.

“Courage Is the Price that Life Exacts for Granting Peace.” – Amelia Earhart

I love this quote from Amelia Earhart because it takes great courage to engage in therapy, but once you do, you can find peace. People who seek therapy understand that they are going to expose their innermost thoughts to a stranger. And talking about your fears and your darkest feelings makes you feel vulnerable. Sometimes you feel a lot worse before you feel better. So it takes courage to show up at that initial session. But the rewards can be so great. The rewards can be the peace that is the payment for courage.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here: