Consulting with a Psychologist and How to Pick 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, such as joblessness, stress, divorce, substance abuse, etc., can indeed be debilitating. But these are common issues human beings face, you may say. Do you actually have to consult with a psychologist?
Here are signs you should think about getting psychological treatment from a professional:
> You’re always overwhelmed with sadness and a feeling of helplessness, whatever you do or no matter how your friends and family try to help you feel better.
> Day to day tasks seem to difficult to handle – for example, you can barely concentrate on work and your job performance inevitably suffers.
> You have irrational worries or a feeling of being constantly on edge.
> You engage in harmful behavior, such as abusing drugs, drinking too much alcohol, etc.
How to Choose 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 very combination of clinical internship and doctoral training is what makes psychologists different from other providers of mental health care.
Psychologists also need a license issued by the state or jurisdiction where they practice.
In most cases, psychologists need to demonstrate consistent competence and take continuing education courses in order to renew their licenses. In addition, members of the American Psychological Association (APA) must adhere to 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 schedule a meeting with the psychologist you may be eyeing, ensuring you ask the following:
> How old is your practice?
> How much experience do you have with people who have problems similar to mine?
> What do you specialize in?
> What treatments do you often use, and is there evidence that they are effective for the kind of situation I’m in?
> What fees do I need to pay (usually per 45-50-minute sessions per visit)? What payment policies do you have? What insurance types do you work with?
Finally, make it a point to choose a psychologist you are happy to work with. 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. A psychologist you don’t even like can hardly help you.