941-462-4807 meg@megyounglcsw.com

Therapy is only for people who are “sick” or “weak,” right? As a first responder, you “shouldn’t” need therapy, right? You’re the strong one; you’re the one others go to when they need help. You’re the protector.
It’s time for this culture to change. There is enough evidence to show that first responders are human, just like the rest of the world and DO feel the effects of their job. The statistics show that the number of suicides among first responders has risen to unprecedented levels in recent years.
If we continue to believe that first responders are “supposed” to be strong and not ever need support and help from a therapist, we are setting ourselves up for continued tragedy with the ever growing number of suicides.
Furthermore, as first responders try to hide their pain, they, like everyone else, will not be able to hide it forever from their family and loved ones. This can end poorly as well. In the “best” case, it will end in divorce. In the “worst” case, it will end in death. Either way, more lives than just yours has been affected.
You’ve been dealing with this downward spiral for a long time now, trying to keep your head above water. You’ve tried ignoring it. You’ve tried making excuses. You’ve tried looking things up on line to see what you can do at home to “fix” this. Nothing has worked and you’re about ready to give up. Afterall, therapy isn’t for you.
Eventually you end up feeling defeated and hopeless. Unfortunately, all this does is send you further down the hole. Maybe you’ve thought about therapy, but how can you go to a therapist? How can you explain to a therapist what it is that you are feeling and going through? Will the therapist want to go through your entire childhood? That’s not going to help; you know that your job is impacting you, not your childhood. Are they going to tell you to do “relaxation” exercises? How can you relax with your mind going a million miles per hour? What can a therapist possibly do for you?
The truth is, the country is saturated with therapists, each one practicing slightly differently. Each therapist has their own strengths and weaknesses and each therapist has a set of tools that they like working best with to help their clients. The truth is, picking a therapist randomly may help you, but also may convince you that therapy does not work.
I know that right now you’re feeling skeptical about therapy, but there is an inkling that you may want to try it. Knowledge is power and the more you know about a therapist, the more likely you are to find one that will serve your needs best. There are several things that you can think about when choosing a therapist for you. It is entirely possible to find the right therapist for you the first time and get the results you have been hoping for quickly.
Keep reading for the top 5 things to think about when choosing a therapist
The biggest downside to continuing down the path you are on is it will only get worse. You know that you feel worse than you did a month ago, 6 months ago, a year ago. If it hasn’t impacted your loved ones, it will get there. The suicide rate among first responders is almost at epidemic levels at this time and it is very possible that you could end up there yourself, even if you don’t think that will ever happen. We all have our breaking points.
At the very least, you just don’t have the motivation, energy and desire to do what you used to love. You are more jaded and sarcastic. This isn’t making you feel good about your job anymore. Have you noticed your thought patterns changed? Have you noticed you aren’t enjoying life quite as much? Have you noticed that you are just “different” from how you used to be? This isn’t you. This isn’t who you want to be.
Although you struggle with emotional turmoil and apathy, you have the potential to enjoy life and your career again. All the stuff you’ve tried from the internet may not have worked, but it does not mean that you are a hopeless cause. Therapy has significant benefits that people can’t always get to on their own.
When we make an informed decision on finding a therapist, there is a possibility for feeling like your old self quickly with as little impact to you, your finances, and your life as possible. You can get back to the life you desire more quickly when you make an informed decision on finding a therapist using these 5 ideas.
You have the opportunity, right now, to choose the therapist that is right for you. Whether or not I, Meg Young, LCSW, is the right therapist for you is not what this article is about. This article is about helping you make the right decision for you based on your needs.
Right now you may be feeling skeptical and unsure that therapy is the answer, but when you make an informed decision, you will be able to make the right decision. Maybe therapy is what you need, maybe not. Maybe therapist A is who you need, maybe therapist B is who you need.
Another good blog to take a look at is my blog How First Responders can Overcome the belief that therapy won’t help. I put this here as an easy guide to taking the next step towards attending therapy and dispelling the belief that first responders shouldn’t go to therapy.
The key to achieving the results you are looking for in therapy is to make an informed decision. By thinking about certain questions prior to looking for a therapist, you will be able to narrow down your search to only the therapists who will get you results quickly and effectively.
These top 5 things to think about are not difficult questions. They are not deep philosophical questions. They are questions that when you read, you will be able to answer quickly and honestly, which will make the search for a therapist easier and less stressful.
Check out these 5 things to think about when choosing a therapist so you can achieve freedom from your emotional turmoil quickly
Tip #1: Does the therapist speak TO you in the platform you found them?
Where did you find the therapist you’re looking at? Psychology Today? Good Therapy? Their website? As you read their description, are they speaking to you? As you are reading the description, does it seem like they are speaking directly to you?
If it seems like the therapist is speaking directly to you, they likely understand you and what you are going through pretty well. They are also likely to have a good style to fit you as their communication seems to fit your communication.
Tip #2: Do they seem to understand you and your issue(s)?
This goes along with tip number 1. If they are talking directly to you, they likely understand you and what you are going through. When you find a therapist who seems to understand you and your issues, you will get a good amount of work done with that therapist in a shorter amount of time. You and the therapist won’t need to waste time and will be able to get into the core of the work quickly. Furthermore, if they understand you and your issues that well, they have a good change of specializing in that area, which means they are likely pretty versed in helping others just like you.
Tip #3: Is their style good for you?
This may be a harder thing to figure out just by seeing what they are like on directories and their webpage. However, if you do your research, there is a good possibility that you will be able to figure out their style. Look them up on Google – where are they on Google? Do they have a website? Facebook? Linked-In? Other social media? Ask others if they’ve heard of him or her and what they’ve heard about the therapist. The more you know about the therapist you are going to, the better your chance of knowing their style will fit yours.
If their style matches with you, you have a greater likelihood of meeting your goals quicker. Add this to tip number 2 and you have likely found one of the best therapists to help you meet your needs in the most efficient way possible.
Tip #4: Are they available when and how you need them to be?
Is your schedule consistent? Or do you work varied shifts? Do you have childcare to worry about? How about transportation issues? As you are looking for a therapist, find out what their schedule is, as well as how and when they are available.
Some therapists only work 9-5. Others work early morning or late evening. Others work weekends. Others work online. There are so many therapists in each state that you do not have to force yourself into someone else’s schedule. You can take the time to find the right therapist who will meet you at a time and place that is convenient for you.
Tip #5: Cost
Honestly, cost is the least important thing to think about when choosing a therapist. However, I am putting it in here because so many people want to pay as little as possible. When you are looking for something to last; something durable, you probably won’t choose the cheapest option, right? If you are looking for something that is only going to last a short time and you know it, you probably don’t care that you’ll pay very little, and even look for the lowest cost.
When you think about your life, how much is your life worth? Most insurance plans these days have a deductible that needs to be met before insurance will start paying for therapy. This means no matter which therapist you go to, you are likely to pay out of pocket until your deductible is met.
By using the other tips here and finding the therapist who is right for you, the amount of time spent in therapy will be much shorter than going to just any therapist. When you find a therapist who specializes in what you need, you may spend more per session, but you may actually spend less overall by the time you get your goals met in therapy.
Achieving the goals you desire; achieving results and getting out of the emotional turmoil doesn’t have to be a lifetime of therapy. It can be a very positive experience in terms of time, money, and value. You absolutely can feel better about yourself, get your life back where you want it to be, and enjoy your career as much as you did when you first started.
Choosing a therapist is a personal decision. Everyone is an individual with individual needs. Not every therapist is right for every individual looking for therapy.
Meg Young, LCSW, may or may not be the right therapist for you. I specialize in first responders including 911 dispatchers, medical professionals including therapists, doctors, and nurses, and court/legal professionals including probation and parole officers in Florida and Connecticut. However, I keep a lot of connections with therapists across the country specializing in various needs. Even if I am not the right therapist for you, I’d be happy to help you find someone who could meet your needs.
When you have done your research and are ready to take that next step, give me a call at 941-462-4807. I look forward to helping you along your journey. If it is not us, I look forward to helping you connect with someone who will be able to help you along your journey.