What Is Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy is a general term for helping to improve behavioral health by talking with a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health provider; another term for this is “talk therapy.”

Things you may be wondering about counseling

How do I find a therapist?

  • Call the number on the back of your insurance card and ask for a list of providers
  • Look into community clinics in your area
  • Many therapists advertise on www.psychologytoday.com; this website has a “find a therapist” tool that lets you to search for providers by location, insurance or specialty
  • If someone you know sees a therapist they like, try them out or ask the therapist for a referral to someone they recommend
  • Call a therapist you may think you want to see; most therapists offer a 20-minute free phone consultation
  • If you are employed, and your employer has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), call the EAP for referrals
  • If you are a student, go to the school’s counseling or health center; someone there may be able to suggest off-campus referrals

What will my appointments with a therapist be like?

  • At the first meeting with a therapist you will fill out paperwork, learn what to expect at future appointments, get to know the therapist, and you will have a chance to ask questions
  • Therapy should be a safe place for you to work with your therapist; everything you talk about with your therapist will be kept private unless there is a life or death situation or you give written permission to share information with someone
  • You may want to attend three sessions to determine if you and your therapist are a good fit
  • Do not worry if you are not comfortable with the first therapist you meet with; it may take a few tries to find someone who is a good fit

How long does therapy last?

  • Sessions are usually 45 to 50 minutes long and may happen weekly or more often if needed
  • Therapy can be short-term, lasting only a few weeks or months, or long-term, lasting a year or more