Making the decision to find help can be an extremely difficult one at the best of times. When making such a hard decision it is important that you choose to partner with a therapist who truly understands you and offers you the right type of therapy to alleviate your problems. Finding the right therapist can sometimes mean the difference between fixing the problem and suffering for longer. There are many types of therapists out there who all specialise in different things and finding the right one can sometimes feel like ‘finding a needle in a haystack’.
Which type of therapist do I need?
Let’s first look at some of the professionals who are able to offer you help:
These are doctors who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and psychiatric illnesses. They have medical training and are licensed to prescribe drugs and psychotherapy.
Psychologists study the mind and human behaviour and are also trained in counselling, psychotherapy and psychological testing.
Are specialists that provide social services in health-related settings that are managed by professional care organisations. They strive to enhance a person’s psychological and social functioning by providing empathy and counselling for interpersonal problems.
Where do I start?
The first thing to do is identify which type of therapist you think you would benefit the most from and proceed to collect a list of names of those in your general area. A simple google search should provide you with the information you need. Alternatively, you can speak to your GP or a friend or family member who may themselves have previously had treatment from a therapist.
Once you have called and booked your first appointment, it’s important to have a list of questions ready in order to gauge whether the therapist you are seeing is suitable for your needs. Some questions to keep in mind include:
◦ How long has this therapist been practicing?
◦ How many patients are they currently seeing?
◦ What do previous patients say about them?
◦ What are there fees, policies and payments?
You should ask yourself: Do I feel comfortable with this person? Do they respect me? Remember, you will likely be spending a considerable amount of time with your therapist and will be sharing some of your most personal feelings with them – so synergy is a must.
Whilst it is important to feel comfortable with a therapist, it is also advised not to feel too comfortable with them as this will induce you to engage in meaningless chit chat which is not productive.
Make sure that you and your therapist set a clear goals and outcomes, check which resources they offer (group sessions, homework assignments, online programs etc), and make sure they are listening to you.