man in therapy for young adults, young adult therapy for mental health, depression, and substance abuse

Deciding to start going to therapy is a big step for many people. Whether it’s for trauma support, mental health treatment, therapy for individuals in recovery, or moral support, attending therapy is an incredibly beneficial decision for all ages, including young adults.

The Benefits of Therapy for Young Adults

Therapy plays a significant role in improving mental health and well-being, offering many benefits for young adults. Young adults, typically aged 18 to mid to late 20s and even early 30s, are in a stage of life characterized by significant challenges and transitions. Therapy provides individuals a safe and confidential environment to release their thoughts, emotions, and past traumas. For young adults, whether they’re seeking support for mental health or trauma or just simply need someone to talk to, therapy could be an effective solution.

young adult needing therapy treatment for mental health and addiction

There are many benefits of going to therapy. Here are a few things to expect when starting therapy:

  • Improved emotional regulation
  • Emotional healing
  • Personal growth
  • Improved mental health
  • Developing effective coping skills
  • Changing unhealthy behavioral patterns
  • Better interpersonal skills
  • Healthier relationships
  • Support and guidance during difficult times and transitions
  • Preventative care and ongoing support
  • Confidential and non-judgmental space
  • Self-awareness
  • A sense of control over your emotions and life

Attending therapy as a young adult promotes emotional and mental well-being, facilitates healing, and improves life satisfaction. Individuals in psychotherapy, such as positive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), are likelier to experience a higher level of happiness than those not receiving treatment.

A Guide to Help Young Adults Choose the Right Therapy Approach and Therapist

After understanding the many benefits of going to therapy in your 20s and 30s, it’s time to start looking. Making an informed treatment decision requires various steps, including identifying your needs, the type of therapy you’re looking for, and finding a qualified therapist.

1. Identify Your Goals and Needs

Before starting therapy, a self-assessment can help identify your needs and the goals you want to work towards. A therapist can help address issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, addiction recovery, relationships, and life transitions. Many people are unsure of their specific goals and needs when starting therapy, and that’s okay. Your therapist can help you identify your struggles and develop coping strategies to manage and improve them.

young adult preparing for therapy session

2. Research Different Types of Therapy

Following your self-assessment, research different types of therapies to find out which one is the right fit for you and your situation. Different types of therapies include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Trauma therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy

Each type of therapy addresses different issues and employs strategies to reach a specific goal. Understanding your struggles and what you hope to achieve from therapy can help identify the suitable therapeutic modality for you.

3. Finding Qualified Therapists

Finding a licensed therapist with the proper credentials and specialization for the type of therapy you’re seeking is crucial. When searching for therapists with your preferred specialization, you want to ensure they’re in-network with your insurance. Attending therapy regularly can be expensive, especially if your therapist is out-of-network and you’re having to pay out of pocket. Checking mental health resources, referral services, insurance policies, or referrals from friends can help you find a qualified therapist.

4. Considerations for Choosing the Right Therapist for You

There are several things to take into consideration before deciding on a therapist. First off, you’ll want to determine if you prefer in-person therapy or virtual therapy, as not all therapists may offer both. Once you’ve decided between those two options, you can search for therapists who specialize in the type of therapy you need.

A mental health therapist or counselor covered by your insurance can make or break whether or not they’re the right fit for you. Finding affordable therapy can give you peace of mind when attending sessions, allowing you to focus on improving and healing rather than the state of your finances.

5. What to Expect and How to Prepare for Your First Therapy Session

Once you’ve decided on a therapist and scheduled an appointment, you might be unsure what to expect from your first session. When preparing for your first therapy session, you’ll want to prepare yourself mentally and logistically to discuss some life events that might be difficult to talk about. You can make notes on specific issues, areas of improvement, or goals that you want to discuss and have them with you. Starting therapy with an open mind rather than one set goal can open you up and make room for other areas needing improvement and healing. It’s important to ask questions during your session to get to know your therapist as well, such as:

  1. What experience do they have with your specific struggles/needs?
  2. What types of therapy do you specialize in?
  3. What type of insurance do they accept, if any?

Whether you know the answers to these questions before your session, it’s essential if they’ve made recent changes that haven’t been updated on their profile.

happy man after going to therapy for young adults

6. How to Assess if Therapy is Working

So, how do I know if therapy is working for me? Many people in therapy ask this same question, whether they voice it or not. After several sessions, you’ll want to reflect on your progress since starting therapy. Consider the progress and changes you have made toward addressing the initial needs and goals you started therapy with. Some individuals see immediate results from therapy, while others may experience a slower but steady progression. Continue to be open-minded when going into each session, and you can express any concerns that you might have about your progress and challenges.

7. Signs if Your Therapist is the Right Fit for You

Another common question people in therapy ask is: “How do I know if my therapist is the right fit for me?” There is no harm in working with different therapists when starting therapy. The purpose of therapy is for you to feel comfortable opening up about your struggles and emotions with your therapist. This might be a sign if you don’t feel comfortable discussing these issues. If your therapist’s communication style or therapy approach is not what you’re looking for, it may be time to make adjustments and consider other options.

When you find the right type of therapy and therapist, you’ll notice emotional healing, relationship improvements, and overall better life satisfaction.