I am a long time member of the couch patrol, I know when going to an outside person to get a non biases opinion is important. When you have reached a point in your life where maybe your brain and you are not compatible and you need some outside chemical help to get back on track. No one should be ashamed about going into therapy, it is not a sign of weakness. I happen to believe admitting you need help is a sign of strength.
The second most important decision about entering therapy, would be what kind of therapy is needed. Some times, just a few talk sessions, or sharing your story with people like yourself - group therapy - is enough. Not always just sometimes. With the number of options available to people today entering therapy is confusing. What kind of help does a person need, should they see someone with a medical degree, or a counseling degree.
I have been to five different therapists. Some were clinical physicians, some just therapist. The best one I ever had help me work through the start of my illness and the end of my marriage. I had to leave her when I left Connecticut and moved closer to to Boston. The worse one I had fixated on the death of my brother and kept trying to get me to relive it. I said once was enough.
I was in a group for a while, one for woman with chronic illness. I left because too many of the woman let their disease become them. My motto is I have lupus, lupus does not have me. My positive kept getting in the way of their negative.
I think you have to go into therapy with a clear idea of what your want. Do you want a sounding board, a neutral ear? Then go with a therapist
Major issues that you feel have held you back in life, some deep dark secret you need to tease out and deal with in the sun? Then you need a psychotherapist.
Do you have a chemical imbalance, or severe mood swings, depression? Perhaps you need medication to control that imbalance, to stop injuring yourself or control the voices in your head? If so, than you need a full psychologist who can prescribe medications as well as talk therapy.
If you choose option three, the Psychologist will most likely work with a therapist. I have been to 2, and both of them did. Not to say they all do. What happened with me is I saw the therapist weekly or more than that. And I saw the Psychologist once a month.
Except the guy who wanted to talk to my four year old self, he saw me once a week, and kept pressing on my brothers death. I wanted to talk about my illness, and the impending break up of my marriage. He wanted to talk about something that happened in 1963!!!
I stopped all mental therapy back in late 2007. I did not see that it was helping much, I mean talking about cancer and lupus did not make them go away.
Edited 3 times because I kept thinking of something to add or clarify. If you want to talk about this in private, ping me at firstname.lastname@example.org
*** No questions about 1963