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. Problems, such as joblessness, stress, divorce, substance abuse, etc., can indeed be debilitating. But such are rather common issues people often face, you might say. Do you really need to see a psychologist?

You need psychological treatment if any of the following is true to you:

> 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.

> Doing routinary tasks seems almost impossible – for instance, it’s hard for you to concentrate on your job, causing your performance to suffer.

> You have irrational worries or a feeling of being constantly on edge.

> You develop harmful habits, like excessive drinking, substance abuse, etc.

Choosing a Psychologist

Part of this training is completion of a supervised clinical internship in a hospital or any similar setting, plus a minimum of one year of post-doctoral supervised experience. After all of these steps, they can set up an independent practice anywhere they want. This mix of doctoral training and clinical internship is exactly what makes psychologists unique from other mental health carers.

Psychologists also need a license issued by the state or jurisdiction where they practice.
To renew their licenses, psychologists often have to take continuing education courses and demonstrate competence on a consistent basis. Moreover, Americal Psychological Association (APA) members are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics.

Interviewing Prospects

It’s easy to think that any well-credentialed psychologist is good for you. Not necessarily. There’s more you have to know, and to know these things, you need to ask questions. So schedule a meeting with the psychologist you may be eyeing, ensuring you ask the following:

> How long is your experience as a psychologist?

> How much experience do you have with people who have problems similar to mine?

> What do you specialize in?

> 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 payment policies do you have? > What types of insurance will you accept?

Personal Rapport

Finally, it is crucial that you and chosen psychologist are a match. Once everything has checked out – credentials, competence, and the rest – it can only come down to the psychologist’s personality and how it matches your own. A psychologist you don’t even like can hardly help you.

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