Contacting a Mental Health Professional

The initial appointment with a mental health professional is about an hour long and consists of the “get to know you”. You will not be put “on trial”. The goal of the therapy relationship is to create a comfortable space for you to speak on your own terms. The gender of the therapist does not matter, other than what you are most comfortable with - there is no wrong answer! The truth is, the rapport you build with your therapist is the most significant factor in therapy “working”.

Most counseling agencies have therapist bios on their websites you can view to learn more.

Mental health professionals can help you develop strategies to overcome negative thought patterns and destructive behaviors you may have.

The biggest impact of therapy is felt in the first few sessions. Depending on what you are working on, counseling could be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly and could last just 3 sessions or possibly many more. The impact and rate of improvement tend to slow after the first few sessions.

Once you have tackled the issue at hand, don’t throw out your therapist’s number! In a year or so, you may find you want to check in again…life happens!


For some men, a combination of talk therapy and medication may be recommended. It is important to note that most medications take at least 2 weeks before any benefits are felt. Also, medication may improve sleep, appetite and concentration before a lift in mood is noticed. Be Patient.

Medication for mental health is not an exact science, so the first medication may not be “the one”. It may help a little but have too many side effects, or it may not help at all. It is critically important to attend follow up medication appointments to report this information to your doctor. It may take a few tries to find the “right one” for you. Also, it is important to continue to take the medication once you start feeling better. It is easy to think you no longer need the medication, when in actuality, it is the medication that is causing you to feel better. Stopping a medication abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms. Note - medication does not have to be forever. After a course of about 6-12 months, talk with your doctor about slowly and safely decreasing your dose.

For some, medication is “the remedy of last resort,” and that is ok. Just know it is an option.

Cost of Therapy

The out-of-pocket cost for a counseling session can be anywhere from $100-$200. Public and private insurance will greatly reduce the cost to you. Also, most employers have Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) that provide 3-6 FREE counseling sessions! If you are unemployed and do not have insurance, your county health and human services department has mental health services at little or no cost to you.


  • Therapist/Clinician/Licensed Social Worker - talk therapy, generally 45min sessions.
  • Psychiatrist - medical doctor who can prescribe medication; generally a 20 minute visit to check medication effectiveness.
  • Psychologist - performs psychological testing to aid in diagnosis; sometimes also provides talk therapy.
  • Telehealth - video chat counseling session.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) - evidence-based talk therapy for treating depression/anxiety.
  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) - another evidence-based talk therapy for treating depression/anxiety.
  • Stress - usually means we are upset or tense about something in our lives. Stress is a natural response designed to help people cope effectively with emergencies. Stress can be “good”, but even then, if it is unrelenting, physical and/or mental health problems can result. Stress is not the same thing as depression/anxiety.


At Work:

  • Improves productivity 2 years following therapy, according to productivity site study
  • Improves self-esteem and job satisfaction

Sex Life

  • Studies show that anxiety and depression can make men more likely to go limp in the bedroom.
  • “Sexual anxiety counseling can help you communicate and empathize with your partner—a strategy that can ultimately relieve some of the performance pressure.”
  • “Connecting behavior, such as listening and emotional vulnerability, can be the greatest foreplay of all—especially for women,” says Wexler. David Wexler, Ph.D., executive director of the Relationship Training Institute in San Diego.


So how do you find a mental health therapist anyway?!?

You may start with sources that you trust and feel comfortable talking to about your health. Your Primary Care doctor can provide you a referral to a counseling agency or behavioral health therapist.

You would be surprised at how many people have spoken to a mental health therapist or counselor! Many people get referrals by talking to a trusted family member or friend.

You will also want to check with your insurance provider to make sure that you connect with someone covered by your insurance plan.

211 is another resource that can help you connect with a counselor. Calling 211 you will connect with a live person who can direct you to resources in our community.

Most counseling agencies also provide bios on their website and pictures of their counselors.