Mathes: Seeking a therapist

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When starting the search for a therapist, there are many things to consider doing before choosing the right person for you. There are things you should research, questions you should ask and information you need to know before you can say with absolute finality that this therapist is your match.

In the past, I’ve used websites such as psychologytoday.com to find information about psychologists in my area. It’s a great resource for people starting out in a new place with no prior information about the mental health professionals in their surrounding environment. You can search for psychologists and psychiatrists alike, or you can find a psychologist and ask them to refer you to a psychiatrist for medication distribution; many psychologists have people to refer you to in the network of professionals.

Finding a person’s name on a website isn’t the only thing to do though. You want to make sure they take your insurance so that you’re not paying astronomical amounts of money for their services. You also want to contact them and ask them questions, almost like an interview.

For anybody who is nervous about this process or has never done this before, some questions you might consider asking could be about their specializations in psychology, such as PTSD, OCD, anxiety/depression, etc. Every psychologist has a specialty in some category of psychology and you need to find the person who knows how to handle those issues.

Another question you might ask is: What kind of therapeutic techniques do they use? If you are new to this, you would be surprised by how many different kinds of therapy there are and which ones help best with which mental health issues. Ask them to explain the process of each one so that you better understand their psychologist lingo and what the therapy would include.

I’ve been subjected to dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, emotion-focused therapy, group therapy, mindfulness therapy and many others. To a lot of you, this means absolutely nothing, but this is just an example of some of the many types of therapy out there. You have to find the right one for you.

After asking all of your questions, find out if there’s a way you can go for an initial counseling session with this therapist and make sure there are no strings attached to the meeting. If you don’t click with the person, they aren’t right for you and you shouldn’t try to force the relationship.

You know how people click with friends or significant others and you just know that you fit? That’s the same feeling you should have with your therapist and if it isn’t there at the first meeting, you probably won’t be able to establish it down the road.

Make sure to gather as much information as you need/want in order to make the right choice for you and even ask for referrals from friends or family members to see if they know anybody you might like to see.

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