Picking up the phone to call a therapist can be intimidating and nerve-wracking, whether it’s your first, or fourth, attempt. Whatever made you seek guidance is valid, and by starting the search process you are one step closer to building a life that you can love and enjoy more fully.

In case you haven’t experienced counseling before, or would like more insight before making an appointment, here are six things to consider:

1. You’ve most likely experienced trauma (that you may not even consider trauma).

We normally consider “trauma” as incredibly intense, dark and gut-wrenching experiences. While many can be obvious, there are countless circumstances that can still be “life-altering,” even if we have never labeled or seen them as traumas. You may be surprised that individuals face everyday hurdles (trust issues, fear of abandonment, certain anxieties, etc.) because of something that happened in their past, even tracing back to their childhood.

Therapy helps us realize that, while all of our problems don’t seem like conventional therapy conversations, it doesn’t mean they’re any less valid. Once you can identify these points in life and begin to work through them, you’re on your way to overcoming traits that may be holding you back from your full potential.

2. Be prepared to get vulnerable, but only on your own time.

In therapy, conversations can get…deep. While it’s a little scary to think about, this is mostly how successful healing and recovery processes begin. It’s completely normal to be skeptical when you start counseling; it’s hard to trust someone you just met. The vulnerability piece is a process, and therapists know that. Go at your own pace and they will help you, meeting you where you are.

3. Be sure to check your insurance plan and if you don’t have insurance, find a provider who accepts uninsured individuals.

In most scenarios, you want to be sure that the therapist you choose accepts your insurance, and that your plan covers the provider. All company benefit packages or individual plans vary and it’s important to note the details before you officially begin services to avoid extra costs. Once you do your research, find the person who sounds like the best fit and start the registration process.

4. The first therapist you see, may not be the right one for you—and that’s OK.

The hard truth: finding the right counselor isn’t always easy. Finding your therapist has the same common basis as any other relationship: chemistry. Though you may not feel like revealing parts of your personal life from the very beginning, you should feel an initial connection and comfort level after the first few sessions.

Therapy isn’t always serious, so you may find that you have similar senses of humor, values or stories that may help you connect on a deeper level, eventually becoming more vulnerable. Is it possible to find your perfect match on the first try? Of course it is! But if that’s not the case for you, don’t worry. Once you find your right therapist, it will be worth the wait.

5. Sometimes medicine is suggested, and sometimes it’s not.

Treatment plans are not “one size fits all.” It’s possible that therapists will suggest medication (which involves being referred to a psychiatrist or prescribing provider) as a solution to help you function to the very best of your ability. However, sometimes talk therapy, coping mechanisms and mental techniques are enough to set you on your path to health and well-being. Once your therapist understands your goals, traumas and struggles, they can work with you and, if needed, other mental health professionals to create your individualized treatment plan.

6. As cliché as it sounds, you are not alone.

Do you feel like the people who normally help you through tough times don’t quite understand what you’re going through? Are you embarrassed to discuss certain things because you don’t want anyone to judge you? There are countless instances where therapists have told their clients that they aren’t the only ones navigating through the same issues. There is comfort within those conversations.

Therapy is meant to be a judgment-free zone, where you can talk about anything and everything and work through all of it. Just because your circle can’t relate to what you’re experiencing doesn’t mean you’re the only one struggling with it. Odds are, your therapist will be able to teach you techniques and solutions that will help you not only feel heard, but also connected. You are never alone.

Deciding to start therapy takes strength and courage. Though it can take some time to find out what, or who, works for you, beginning this journey will open many doors, some you may not have even thought possible. You are capable of big and beautiful things; sometimes it just takes a little push to realize your possibilities.

If you have additional questions concerning therapy or you’re interested in starting services at WellStone, click here today.