Hi, I have been having problems with depression, but I won’t go all into that. I think I should see a therapist but I’m scared of therapists and not sure what to do. I want the therapy to be private but I have no one I would be comfortable being in there with. Is there a way to help me be more comfortable around them?
Thanks so much for having the courage to write in for help. First, I want to let you know that feeling scared and uncomfortable with the thought of going in and sharing your problems with a therapist is very common, even with adults. Most people are a little reluctant to share things with someone they’ve just met, even in social situations. Over time, you’ll likely feel more comfortable as you develop trust with your therapist.
Since you are a minor, a parent will need to be aware of your treatment and give their consent. That doesn’t mean they have to be in the session unless you want them to.
Here a few suggestions to make seeing a therapist easier.
1) “Get to know them” online. There are many online therapist directories where you can see a photo and read about the therapist’s approaches to therapy. If you need help finding a therapists you can click here to see an example on an online listing.
2) Learn more about the therapy process. The more you learn about therapy, the less mysterious and scary it is. Here’s a great article about psychotherapy by Psych Central’s Dr. John Grohol. Therapy is a safe place where you can share what’s going on inside of your heart and head.
3) Request a brief phone call. Once you and a parent find a few therapists that may be a good fit for you, ask to schedule a brief phone call to help put you at ease. You’ll be able to share a few details about why you’re seeking therapy, ask the therapist a few questions, and see how you feel about it.
4) Remember it’s just a conversation. It may help to think of as just talking to another person who wants to help you sort out your thoughts and feelings, and who’s trained in ways that will help you feel better.
5) Therapy is effective. Therapy for depression is very effective and most people feel a lot better after a handful of sessions. Feeling scared about meeting with a therapist may actually be a symptom of your depression. I encourage you to talk to a parent or guardian to help you find a therapist and get an appointment.
Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks LCSW
photo credit: Dottie Mae