Seeing a Psychologist and How to Choose the Right One
At least 30 million Americans are struggling with overwhelming thoughts and emotions, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Joblessness, divorce, stress, burnout, substance abuse – these and other problems can indeed be paralyzing. But you might say, these are but common, day-to day issues that human beings normally deal with in life. Is seeing a psychologist really necessary?
Here are signs you should think about getting psychological treatment from a professional:
> You’re always overwhelmed with sadness and a feeling of helplessness, whatever you do or no matter how your friends and family try to help you feel better.
> Day to day tasks seem to difficult to handle – for example, you can barely concentrate on work and your job performance inevitably suffers.
> You have irrational worries or a feeling of being constantly on edge.
> You start abusing drugs, drinking too much alcohol or any habit that are destructive to you and others.
How to Choose a Psychologist
As part of their training, they have to finish a supervised clinical internship at an organized health setting, such as a hospital, and spend at least a year in acquiring post-doctoral supervised experience. After passing all these steps, they can start their independent practice in a health care arena of their choice. This mix of doctoral training and clinical internship is exactly what makes psychologists unique from other mental health carers.
Psychologists are also required to get a license from the state or jurisdiction that they have chosen for their practice.
In most states, license renewals are possible for psychologists who constantly demonstrate competence and take up continuing education. American Psychological Association (APA) members additionally must follow a strict code of ethics.
When a psychologist is well-credentialed, your natural tendency is to think that he or she is automatically the one you need. Not always. There are other things you need to know, and the only way to know is to ask them questions. So set up a meeting your prospective psychologist, and don’t hesitate to ask the following:
> How old is your practice?
> How much have you worked with people having issues like mine?
> What are your fields of expertise?
> What types of treatments do you normally use, and are they proven effective for the type of issues or problems I have?
> What fees do I need to pay (usually per 45-50-minute sessions per visit)? What are your policies on payments? What insurance types do you work with?
Finally, it is crucial that you and chosen psychologist are a match. As soon as all the others check out, credentials and competence and all, you should look at the psychologist’s personality and how it fits yours. It’s hard, if not impossible, to have a productive relationship with someone you don’t even like having around.