How to find a Good Psychotherapist
If you are feeling overwhelmed and having a hard time dealing with your problems, psychotherapy may be able to help. Psychotherapy involves the use of scientifically validated procedures that can help people become happier, healthier, as well as more productive. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that one in four people of all ages have debilitating problems and can benefit from psychotherapy. Once a person acknowledges their need and desire for the help psychotherapy can provide, the next step is to figure out how they can find the right psychotherapist for their needs.
A Collaborative Relationship
Effective psychotherapy requires a collaborative relationship between a person and their therapist. A psychologist is able to help people work through their problems using interpersonal, cognitive-behavioral
and other types of approaches to therapy. Psychotherapists use dialogue in a supportive environment working together with clients to help them identify and change negative thought and behavior patterns
which prevent them from feeling their best. When the therapy is completed, the client would have solved the problem which brought them to the therapist and learned new coping skills that enable them to deal with future challenges that may arise.
Characteristics Of A Good Therapist
Finding a good psychotherapist can be a daunting task. But if the person seeking help looks for certain key characteristics in the therapist, finding the right one can be a lot easier. A good therapist should be patient, accepting, neutral, objective and nonjudgmental. They should encourage the client to speak openly about their feelings and concerns and help them process and understand them. The right psychotherapist can help people deal with anger, anxiety, depression,
prolonged feelings of sadness and helplessness and a host of other short-term and long-term problems that interfere with their physical and emotional well-being.
Related Article: Is Psychotherapy a Waste of Time?
Therapists employ a variety of treatment methods to help people better navigate their daily challenges. They draw on their psychological and psychiatric training
, counseling and behavior modification techniques, psychoanalytic and humanistic approaches, current psychological research and their theoretical orientation to act as a mentor and guide. You have to decide if you are comfortable with the methods the psychoanalyst uses and if you feel they will work best for you. That decision will take some research on your part and a willingness to try different types of therapists.
The First Step
When looking for the right psychotherapist, the first step is to compile a list of good candidates. You can do this by talking to several different groups. If you have a physician you trust and like, you can ask them to recommend a therapist your insurance plan will cover.
You can also contact the American Psychologist Association Practice Organization for a list of qualified psychoanalysts in your area. They can provide information on the area of specialization and experience of their members. Local mental health associations and the psychology departments of colleges and universities near you can also help. Plus, you can also check with mental health centers in your local community. If you are comfortable disclosing your search, you can ask relatives and friends for recommendations as well.
Refining Your List
Once you have compiled a good list of names, you can begin to identify the best candidates. Using criteria like the number of years they have been in practice, accolades and awards for excellent work, a track record of success treating patients with conditions similar to yours, methods they use, proximity to your home and being recommended by multiple sources, you can begin to refine your choices. Ideally, you want to identify the top ten candidates before you begin to do more in-depth research. You can always return to your master list should you not be satisfied with any of your top ten choices.
Do Basic Telephone Interviews
The next step in the process of selecting a good psychoanalyst is to contact the offices of the top 10 candidates to get more information on their services. Compile a list of questions that are important to you. They should include questions about licensure, areas of expertise, years of experience and the types of treatments they use. Briefly explain the problems that have you concerned and mention if you’ve been diagnosed with a specific condition. Ask if the psychologist has experience dealing with your issues and how effective they have been treating them. This should give you enough information to cut your list in half.
Ask About Prices
You can’t put a price on good mental and emotional health
. However, unless you are fabulously wealthy, the cost of the treatment should be a consideration. Begin by seeing if your health insurance will cover the cost of the treatment you need. Find out if the psychologists charge variable rates or a sliding scale and for which ones you qualify. Make them aware of the limits of your funds and request the lowest hourly rate possible. Ask about discounts for paying in cash. See what if any free or deeply discounted psychological services are available in your local community health centers and choose the best one available.
Schedule A Session With The Top Candidates
The only way to ultimately decide which therapist will work best for you is to meet them in person. Schedule a session with the top two to five candidates on your list.
Make notes after each session and compare them. With which one did you feel most comfortable speaking? Which one listened to you and asked meaningful questions? Did any of them make you feel hopeful or relieved? Did one of them seem more competent than the rest? If none of them wowed you, set up a second session with the best two or three. It may take two or three sessions before you find the right one for you.
Don’t Be Afraid To Change
Once you have begun seeing a therapist regularly, you still need to continue to assess your feelings about the quality of the treatment, your relationship and the results you are getting. Continuing to see a psychologist you are not totally satisfied with until you find a better one is fine. You can even tell the therapist why you are not completely satisfied and ask them to refer you to someone they think may be better suited to your needs. A good therapist that’s genuinely concerned about your well-being will be glad to help you find a better fit. You can also continue to do your own research until you find a therapist with which you are satisfied.
An Empowering Experience
The process of searching for a psychoanalyst that feels right and delivers the positive results you need is an empowering experience. Taking charge of your mental health is a powerful step. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own healing. The therapist helps the process along by providing you with the tools and guidance that helps you to identify and address the issues that are negatively impacting your mental and emotional health. It is a healthy move to continue to monitor your progress and decide if you are healing because or in spite of your therapist and change therapists if you feel it’s in your best interest.
An Ongoing Process
Working to improve your mental and emotional health is an ongoing process. So, too, is assessing the effectiveness of your therapist. The psychologist that gets you excellent results at the beginning of your journey towards optimal mental and emotional health may not be the right one for you as you begin to make progress, grow and heal. As your competence and confidence grow, you will be better able to decide if you need to change therapists. This is something you should discuss with your therapist. They can give you some unique, professional advice about your growth and your current psychological needs.
Get Started Today
The process of finding the right psychoanalyst can take some time. However, the sooner you start the process and begin to get help the better. It takes courage to admit to yourself you need help. You must then motivate yourself to take the steps necessary to find the right therapist to help you on your journey towards wellness. There is a vast amount of effective mental health treatment available to you. This will become clear as you start doing your research and ask for guidance, recommendations, and referrals. Although moving along the road to improved mental and emotional health is a very personal journey, there are many people willing and able to help with the process.
Improve Your Quality Of Life
Many people are paralyzed into inaction at the thought of having to deal with mental health issues. In the past, there was a negative stigma attached to people who needed and received mental health assistance. But these are more enlightened times. People understand that overcoming the fear and nervousness about seeking a therapist to help improve their mental health is worth it because, in the long run, it will improve their quality of life and that of the people around them.
Psychotherapy can be a valuable tool. And while finding the right therapist can take some work, simply embarking on the process is an acknowledgment you know you have a problem and you are smart and brave enough to take the necessary steps to get help to solve it.