Seeing a Psychologist and Picking a Good 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 you might say, these are but common, day-to day issues that human beings normally deal with in life. Is seeing a psychologist really necessary?
You need psychological treatment if any of the following is true to you:
You feel too sad and helpless everyday of your life, no matter what you do or how much help you get from family and friends.
> 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 unreasonable fears and are constantly tense or nervous.
> 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 are also required to get a license from the state or jurisdiction that they have chosen for their practice.
In most states, license renewals are possible for psychologists who constantly demonstrate competence and take up continuing education. American Psychological Association (APA) members additionally must follow a strict code of ethics.
It’s easy to assume that if a psychologist is well-credentialed, he or she is automatically good for you. Not really. There’s more you have to know, and to know these things, you need to ask questions. So set an appointment with your potential psychologist, and make sure to ask the following:
> How old is your practice?
> How much have you worked with people having issues like mine?
> Do you specialize in any particular areas, and if so, what are they?
> 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 are your policies on payments? What insurance types do you work with?
Finally, it is crucial that you and chosen psychologist are a match. After everything else checks out – competence, credentials, etc. – it should boil down to the psychologist’s personality and how it jives with yours. It’s hard, if not impossible, to have a productive relationship with someone you don’t even like having around.