Seeing a Psychologist and Picking a Good One
There are no less than 30 million Americans who are struggling with thoughts and emotions that seem uncontrollable, as per National Institute of Mental Health data. Problems, from stress to joblessness to divorce and more, can indeed feel crippling. 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 should consider seeking psychological treatment if any of the following applies 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 engage in harmful behavior, such as abusing drugs, drinking too much alcohol, etc.
Choosing a Psychologist
As part of their training, they have to finish a supervised clinical internship at an organized health setting, such as a hospital, and spend at least a year in acquiring post-doctoral supervised experience. After all of these steps, they can set up an independent practice anywhere they want. This very combination of clinical internship and doctoral training is what makes psychologists different from other providers of mental health care.
Psychologists must also be licensed by the state or jurisdiction of their practice.
To renew their licenses, psychologists often have to take continuing education courses and demonstrate competence on a consistent basis. Moreover, Americal Psychological Association (APA) members are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics.
It’s easy to think that any well-credentialed psychologist is good for you. Not necessarily. There’s more you have to know, and to know these things, you need to ask questions. So schedule a meeting with the psychologist you may be eyeing, ensuring you ask the following:
> How long is your experience as a psychologist?
> How experienced are you in treating patients who are in a similar situation as I?
> What do you specialize in?
> What treatments do you usually use, and is there proof that they work on the type of issue or problem I’m dealing with?
> What are the charges (often based on 45-50-minute sessions per visit)? What are your policies on payments? What kinds of insurance will you take?
Lastly, it is a must that you and your psychologist get along. As soon as all the others check out, credentials and competence and all, you should look at the psychologist’s personality and how it fits yours. It’s hard, if not impossible, to have a productive relationship with someone you don’t even like having around.
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