What is Therapy? A Beginner’s Guide

Starting Therapy

Starting therapy, especially if it is your first time, can feel intimidating. It can be difficult to know what to expect. Feeling unsure and nervous is a completely normal response to trying something new. This article from the Los Angeles Times is a great introduction to different types of therapy options, what to expect with your first few therapy appointments, and how to get started. If you are new to therapy, we recommend giving it a read.

It also discusses the benefits of therapy, noting that therapy is “an opportunity to talk through what you’re experiencing and how you’re feeling in a place that’s free of judgment, with someone who is purely listening to help. It’s a time devoted entirely to you, where you can process stressors and talk though confusing or overwhelming emotions you might be experiencing.” Therapy can be helpful whether you have an official diagnosis (anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD, OCD, etc) or if you simply need a space to explore aspects of your identity. It can be helpful if you recently experienced a major life event (death of a loved one, job loss, divorce, miscarriage, etc) or if you feel like your stress has been slowly building over time.

The article mentions different types of therapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), something all of our clinicians specialize in at the Youth and Family Institute – Los Angeles. It also includes quotes from a clinical professor at the UCLA Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Clinic.

Our Director, Marcus Rodriguez, has an ongoing contract to train mental health clinicians at UCLA in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), a specific type of CBT for folks struggling with severe emotion dysregulation, including self-harm and suicide. We hope this article will be a valuable resource to many. It was exciting for us to hear our partners and therapy types featured.


What is therapy? A beginner’s guide to mental health” – Published for the Los Angeles Times by Jessica Roy on December 23, 2020.  Read article.


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