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Have you been thinking about starting therapy but keep putting it off? Maybe you have a friend that started seeing a therapist and got you thinking about it. Or maybe it is just something that has been on your mind for some time, but you keep brushing it off as not urgent.
Our therapists in Baltimore know that the thought of talking with a stranger, showing vulnerability, and revisiting what causes you pain can be scary. Many people delay seeking help and ignore symptoms because mental health is still not considered a priority. We easily overlook our problems, thinking they are not big or important enough, and keep dragging our pain until one day we can’t do it anymore.
There is still a lot of stigma around getting help from a mental health professional. It is perfectly normal to feel hesitant, nervous, or scared. But a good indicator that therapy might be the right decision for you is the mere fact that it already is on your mind.
Scheduling the First Appointment
If you feel nervous about starting therapy, you’re not alone. Making that first call can be daunting. “What would I say?”, “Where to begin?”, “What if I don’t explain myself well?”. On top of that, the process of finding the right therapist – in Baltimore or online – can be an emotional burden on its own.
The upside is, as trained professionals, we know that starting therapy can be a difficult and stressful experience. So, we are prepared to support you while you take this step and work with you to explore what is disturbing you.
Also, another way to move past your fear of going through with that first call is to think about what is blocking you. Figuring out what exactly is making you feel stuck can help you overcome that fear, one small step at a time, and finally start your therapy journey.
Although every person is different, our Baltimore therapists compiled a list of some of the most common fears that can get in the way of someone starting therapy.
5 Common Fears About Starting Therapy by Our Therapists in Baltimore
1. I don’t think my problems are serious enough
Like everything else in our lives, we tend to hierarchize and categorize our problems. We compare our situation with others and we dismiss our pain as not painy enough to need help.
“That are people in way worse situations”. “Everyone has problems, probably bigger than mine”. “What happened to me was not that bad”. “I’m sure everyone feels this way”. Do you identify with any of these thoughts? Maybe all of them?
If you have been delaying therapy because you don’t think your problems are serious enough, you’re not the only one. This is one of the most common reasons people hesitate to start therapy: believing their problems are not deserving of professional care.
2. I won’t know where or how to begin
One concern we hear quite often is “I wouldn’t know what to say…” or “What would I talk about…”. Keep in mind that this process is not all on your shoulders. Your therapist is a trained and experienced professional and will guide you through this path, no matter how confused and disconnected it may seem to you at first.
It is quite usual in therapy to jump around the timeline. You can talk about your past, present, and future. You can explore your concerns and celebrate your strengths. Sometimes all in the same session. This is all part of an effective therapeutic process. So, don’t worry too much about where to begin, just begin.
3. I’m afraid of being judged or feeling ashamed
There is no shame in seeing a cardiologist for a heart problem. But unfortunately, there is still stigma and embarrassment about seeing a mental health professional. For many, thinking about starting therapy or admitting they’re in therapy is something they rather not talk about or choose to keep a secret.
People are afraid to be judged, to be labeled as “crazy”, “problematic”, or “weak”. We still see mental health care as a last resort, something reserved for those who have serious mental health disorders. But this is a stereotype we all need to move past from.
Anyone can benefit from therapy. Any problem that is getting in the way of greater well-being is worth exploring and working through. Therapy can be a wonderful tool to get you on the path of creating the life you want, rather than just enduring the one you got.
4. I don’t feel comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings with a stranger
The thought of sharing your problems and insecurities with a stranger can be rather odd and uncomfortable. If you find it difficult to open up and tend to keep your problems to yourself, this kind of exposure can be particularly challenging. You may feel afraid of being judged or not being understood. “The therapist will think I’m weak for complaining about this”. “They will probably laugh about what I think is a problem”.
Remember that therapists go through years of training to be able to help their clients work out their issues. Therapists don’t judge, shame, or impose their personal views of the world. They are there to help you, to guide you to your goals. They provide you a safe, confidential, and non-judgmental space to bring to light what is causing you pain, and help you achieve a healthier and happier life.
5. I’m afraid that talking about my problems will only make them worse.
Over the years we get quite used to pushing our problems aside and keep moving on without looking back. So, the idea of revisiting what causes you pain can create a sense of vulnerability that makes you hesitant about opening up that door. You may fear that if you do, you’ll drown in a wave of negative emotions. And that you will be so overwhelmed, that you won’t be able to recover.
The truth is therapy is not an easy and painless process. It takes effort, courage, and drive. But you need to confront your pain to begin to heal and feel better in the long run. Your therapist will create a safe space for you to gradually explore your issues. So, you won’t experience anything you are not ready for, and you won’t be alone.
But wait, therapy is not just a place to talk about pain and suffering. You will also be encouraged to celebrate your strengths and victories! The whole purpose is just that, to get you more connected to the things that make you feel happier.
Our Therapists Are Here to Provide You Support
We know it can feel scary to reach out to a new therapist and begin opening up about the things most stressing you out. And we are honored when you choose to trust us to help you. Please know that our therapists are experts at what we do. At our Baltimore, MD based counseling practice, we have a team of compassionate, social justice minded clinicians seeking to provide support to everyone in an anti-racist, LGBTQIA affirming counseling environment.
Our therapists can treat depression, anxiety, trauma/PTSD, alcohol abuse, relationship issues, stress from life transitions, and more. So, if you’re ready to seek help, we’re here to support you.
Seeking Professional Help from Our Therapists in Baltimore
Have you been putting off finding a therapist? Do you recognize any of these fears in you? Starting therapy is a difficult step to take, but it can make a difference in your life.
Our therapists in Baltimore can support you as you explore your problems and gain a greater understanding of yourself. Beginning with understanding these obstacles and fears that keep holding you back. So, don’t deny yourself this experience. Focus on the fears you will be able to overcome once you get started.