How To Choose A Therapist

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By Kelli Barnes | January 8, 2018

It is relatively easy to find a therapist. However, finding a therapist who is a good fit for you might prove to be a challenge. The term “therapist” refers to an individual that provides mental health services. However, there are many different labels and each of these has different experience, training, and insight.

What do all the titles mean?

Social Workers

Social workers are mental health professionals that provide serviced in settings supervised by managed care organizations. Social workers have a master’s level education and serve the community by solving personal and family issues. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or Licensed Social Worker (LSW) often works to support families with issues involving domestic or sexual abuse, sexual abuse, addiction and substance, and other issues. In many cases, social workers are the first people available on crisis hotlines and company-offered mental health services.

Licensed Professional Counselor

A Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) has obtained a master's degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field and completed at least 3,000 hours of post-graduate experience. An LPC is also usually referred to as a therapist or counselor. Counselors can help individuals with a variety of problems such as marital and relationship problems, dealing with grief, depression, substance abuse, self- esteem issues, and more.

Psychologists

Psychologists are individuals with a doctoral degree (PhD or PsyD) who have studied the human mind and behavior and are trained work in clinical, research, and medical environments as well as with patients who need therapy. You may see the acronym LCP following their name in addition to a PhD or a PsyD. Psychologists are not licensed to prescribe medication. However, they can refer you to a psychiatrist if necessary.”

Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists are medical doctors that have the ability to prescribe medication. Psychologists often refer patient cases to psychiatrists when they believe that medication will help their condition.

How Do I Choose A Provider?

Consider Payment

Will counseling be covered by your health insurance? What limitations does your health insurance set? You may be restricted to only a few types of providers? Additionally, many insurance companies off pay at a sliding-scale fee. You may also check the American Psychology Association  or Psychology Today to locate a professional in your area. If you are paying out of pocket, ensure that the hourly rates are affordable for you. Be sure to do your research before selecting or matching with a therapist so that it is a good fit financially.

Make A List

Create a list of providers you are thinking about reaching out to. Include therapists based on practice area, location, availability, recommendations from friends and family, compatibility with your health insurance coverage.

Pick Up the Phone

Jot down any questions or concerns you have before calling the therapist. While on the phone, take notes and ask questions. You may be interested in the therapist’s training, experiences, or whatever other factors that may be important to you.

Some Questions to Ask

  • Where did you go to school?
  • Are you licensed? What kind of licensure do you have?
  • What are you areas of specialty expertise?
  • What are your fees? Do you have a sliding-scale fee policy?
  • What kind of insurance do you accept?

Trust Yourself

Listen to how you feel when communicating with the therapist. If the therapist does not feel like a good match based on your needs or personality, don’t make an appointment with that individual even if you can’t explain why you don’t feel good about the person or conversation. Trust your feelings. Don't forget to ask about the details: the therapist's education and license, their experience and history, and their philosophies towards mental health and illness—specifically what matter you're dealing with.

Just like choosing a  medical doctor, not all patients and therapists match up, and you may have to speak with or visit more than one before you find someone right for you. Trust your judgement and best to you!

Sources:

Good Therapy

Psychology Today


Disclaimer: The information contained in blog posts do not necessarily reflect the views of the Solace Counseling and Consulting LLC. This blog is the opinion of an individual and is not to be construed as professional advice, psychological diagnosis or a professional relationship between the reader and the writer. Blogs are intended only to be used by consumers in search of general interest information pertaining to mental health, relationships, counseling and related topics. Content on this website is not intended to replace or serve as substitute for professional consultation or service. If you require help with mental health issues please contact a licensed therapist or psychiatrist in your area. If you are experiencing an emergency, head to your nearest emergency room or call 911. The posts on this website are copyright of Solace Counseling and Consulting LLC and their writers (unless otherwise sourced). They can be re-blogged or re-posted on social media but cannot be reproduced or uploaded without permission.