Therapy Over 50: Where to Start

As we get older, it's essential to take care of our emotional and mental well-being. Beginning therapy - even after the age of 50 - can bring a level of calm satisfaction that will improve our daily lives.
woman smiling as she walks down the street

As a woman over the age of 50, you have undoubtedly experienced a lifetime of changes and growth. With this newfound wisdom comes the realization that mental health is just as important as physical health. Participating in therapy can help you gain insight into your mental health and provide you with the tools and resources needed to cope with stressors in a healthy manner. Women over 50, in particular, are often dealing with a variety of life experiences that impact their mental well-being. Whether that includes divorce, retirement, or caring for aging parents or children, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the emotional weight of all these experiences.

Attending therapy has many positive benefits. In addition to providing support during difficult times, professional therapy can also help individuals gain insight into their behavior patterns and express feelings that they may not have felt comfortable discussing in other social settings. Professional therapists are dedicated to helping clients heal from past traumas, build self-confidence, manage stressors, develop healthier relationships with family members or partners, and process any transitional changes they may face as they age.

Starting therapy over 50, however, can be intimidating. Let’s explore the benefits of therapy for women over 50 and how you can prepare for your first session.

The Primary Benefits of Therapy Over 50

therapist or counselor with a patient

Here are some of the top benefits of therapy for women over 50:

  • Improved Mental Health: Participating in therapy provides an opportunity to work on improving our overall mental health by addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma, or grief.
  • Increased Self-Awareness: Attending therapy allows us the chance to gain better insight into our thought processes, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors so that we can become more self-aware. One of the main goals of therapy is to increase self-awareness and teach yourself to recognize patterns in your behavior and lifestyle that may be holding you back from reaching your full potential. By exploring these patterns, you can learn how to make lasting positive changes and establish healthier relationships with yourself and others. This heightened awareness gives us the opportunity to become more mindful of our responses when faced with certain situations or challenges.
  • Deeper Insight into Your Emotions: It’s not uncommon for people to struggle with their emotions as they grow older, especially those who have gone through major life transitions such as retirement or divorce. Through therapy, you can learn how to identify and understand your emotions without being overwhelmed by them. This deeper insight into your feelings can help reduce stress levels, which will benefit both your physical and mental health long term. 

Additional Benefits of Therapy for Women over 50

Woman at therapy

In addition to the primary benefits of therapy, these secondary benefits are appealing to many women. 

  • Develop Coping Skills: With the guidance of a therapist, we can learn new ways of dealing with difficult events or experiences without relying on unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse or avoidance behaviors.
  • A Safe Space: Speaking with a therapist allows us the chance to discuss anything that’s bothering us without fear of judgment or criticism from others. A therapist is trained to provide non-biased support so that we feel comfortable expressing ourselves freely and openly.
  • Increased Confidence: A common obstacle many women face in their 50s is a lack of confidence due to comparing themselves to others or worrying about aging gracefully. By exploring these worries in a safe space such as therapy, you will become better equipped to handle any anxiety or fear that comes your way and learn how to build up an internal sense of security within yourself so that no matter what life throws at you, you feel strong enough to handle it with grace and confidence.

How to Research Therapists in Your Area for Therapy over 50

The first step for beginning therapy is to research therapists in your area who specializes in working with women over 50. You can start by asking your primary care doctor or friends and family members who have had positive experiences with therapy. Additionally, most states will have a website that lists all licensed therapists in the state, so you can find one near you. Make sure to read reviews and consult their websites to learn more about their training and experience. When you find a therapist that seems like a good fit, contact them and ask questions about what they specialize in and how they work with clients.

Set Goals and Expectations

happy woman on a beach

Once you’ve found a therapist that works for you, it’s important to set goals for yourself before going into sessions. What do you want out of therapy? What are some topics that you would like to discuss? Are there any particular outcomes or changes that you would like to see from coming to counseling? Taking time to think about these things beforehand can help give direction for your sessions. Additionally, it’s essential to set realistic expectations for yourself; know that therapy isn’t something that will produce significant changes overnight but instead is an ongoing process of self-discovery and growth.

Preparing for Your First Session 

Before going into your first session, it’s important that you prepare yourself mentally by thinking about what topics you would like to discuss with your therapist. Additionally, ensure you have all the information necessary when scheduling your appointment, including insurance information, if applicable, and detailed health history related to mental health issues that you would like your therapist to be aware of. Be sure to give yourself enough time before and after each appointment to reflect on what was discussed during each session without feeling rushed or overwhelmed by other daily tasks.

Ultimately, participating in therapy as a woman over 50 has many positive benefits, such as increased self-awareness and improved coping skills, ultimately leading to improved overall mental health.

Looking for more ways to improve your mental health? Here are the mental health benefits of exercise

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