While it can have negative connotations, I believe it's something that you should consider when you're feeling down, or just need someone to talk to.
Find out who + how
Therapy can be expensive. There are a couple of online alternatives, like 7 Cups, but I prefer talking and face to face interaction more. It's a personal preference though.
I started out asking my insurance company for a list of pre-approved therapists. I'm not completely sure on how the process may be different for other companies, but it wasn't too much of a hassle - of course I procrastinated until the morning of my appointment to do it.
What it was like
As I've only been to one therapist, I can't make any generalizations, but my experience was similar to what you'd see in a movie. I went into a calming, quiet room, where I waited by myself for a couple of minutes. Then my therapist came in and introduced herself, and we went into the "therapy room".
It too, was calming and quiet, with artwork and lots of books and games. My therapist started out with a brief description of what psychotherapy was (I gather that it's a lot about feelings? And how to deal with them?), and then some questions about what was bothering me.
I went in a bit of circular path, but my real issue was my lack of "real" friends. It's been something that's bothered me for quite a bit, and it really hit hard last year, but since then it's petered out. However, it was still beneficial for me to go in and talk to someone who was there to help me sort my way through it.
There was quite a lot of "And how does that make you feel?"s, and also pauses, which encouraged me to talk more. I was never interrupted, which does help encourage opening up more.
What I didn't know beforehand
You really do need to have something to work on, or be feeling negative. Therapists help you work through that, and without a "stumbling block", there isn't too much they can do for you.
They also don't tell you what to do. Instead, they ask you questions and help guide you to understanding yourself more and how to fix your problems (sounds like a bunch of spiritual mumbo-jumbo, but it's accurate).
I'd also strongly suggest scheduling your first appointment at the end of the day, because you don't know how you'll feel afterwards. I went in expecting to come out fine, but I cried and looked puffy, and would not have wanted to go back to school afterwards.
I don't go to therapy frequently, mainly because my insurance only covers a set amount of visits per year, but also because I feel like writing on the blog is a form of therapy for me, and I can work out many of the kinks myself.
However, I enjoyed having someone to talk to, and it made me feel much lighter afterwards.
Of course, if therapy isn't your thing, I'm always here for you as well! <3
Have you ever tried therapy? How do you cheer yourself up when you're down? What's the nicest thing someone's ever done for you or vice versa?
p.s. next week I'll be writing about Egypt (last week was Istanbul!)