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Therapy Session

Therapy Session


Catherine Egenes, LMFT, of Your Therapy Journey encourages you to be your own mental health advocate.
Catherine Egenes, LMFT, of Your Therapy Journey encourages you to be your own mental health advocate.

Finding the right counselor can feel overwhelming, but it’s the obvious first step after acknowledging that you need one. Catherine Egenes, licensed marriage and family therapist at Your Therapy Journey in Buckhead, suggests asking friends or family for referrals, if you feel comfortable. Otherwise, therapy resources include, a long-running site that offers a search tool to find a therapist by city or ZIP code, and, which provides telehealth therapist listings in your area. Once you’ve zeroed in on a prospective therapist, here’s what Egenes recommends doing next for the most successful experience.

Questions to ask

Ask for a 15-minute phone consultation before meeting with a new therapist to make sure you like them. “You can get such a vibe from somebody just by speaking to them even for five minutes,” says Egenes. She recommends talking about practical things first—location, fees, insurance, scheduling and availability. If everything works from a logistical standpoint, then ask about their therapeutic style, expertise and your presenting concerns, and see what they say.

What to know before you go

Go into therapy as your own mental health advocate and expect to collaborate with your therapist. “You might be longing for the therapist to tell you what to do, but you’ll be much better off to go in with the attitude of ‘I’m just as much a part of this process,’” says Egenes.

How to prepare

Ask yourself, “How would I define a successful therapy session? What do I want to walk out feeling or saying?” From there, therapy prep depends on your personality. If you’re more Type A and want to come in with a list of things to discuss, that’s fine. If you’re more comfortable with an unstructured approach of just seeing what happens, that’s fine, too. “Know yourself. You can design it however you want. A good therapist meets a person where they are, period. I’m constantly adjusting to people’s personalities and expectations,” Egenes says. “It’s also OK to say no. It’s OK to say this is what I do or don’t know; this is what makes me feel comfortable or not.”

Cost considerations

A therapist’s fees and whether they take insurance are often stated online, so that’s a good place to start. Call your health insurance to determine your coverage. Also know that some practices offer a “sliding scale,” meaning that if you’re going to pay out of pocket, they will reduce the rate. Those slots are typically limited but worth the ask if the usual rate is a stretch.

Number of sessions

Egenes says to expect to invest in therapy at the beginning to get the most out of it. That means weekly therapy for two to three months at least before reducing or phasing it out as needed. “In the beginning, you need to gain traction and build a rapport, and you can’t get movement if you start with really infrequent sessions.” From there, she believes in collaborative treatment planning that marries a clinical recommendation based on your needs with the practicalities of life, such as money and time constraints.

Dislike your therapist?

“The therapeutic alliance and the strength of the relationship between you and your therapist are the number one predictor of therapeutic success and outcome,” Egenes says. Liking the therapist doesn’t mean wanting to hang out with them. “When you’re sitting across from them, do you feel heard, seen and comfortable? Is there acceptance, trust and true empathy?” Don’t waste time with someone you don’t jive with.


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