There are many different reasons why a person and/or family may need to find a therapist or any other mental health professional. With so many different types of professionals within this field, it’s hard to know which type of professional is right for you, or even how to find the right one.
We’ve created the following tips and information to help you with your search:
Know the difference between different mental health professionals. As mentioned above, half the battle is knowing what the difference between different mental health professionals are. This is an important part of the process; for example, you don’t want to try and find a therapist if what you actually need is a psychiatrist.
Different mental health care professionals and what they do:
Psychiatrists: Doctors who are trained to provide and analysis and diagnosis of specific mental or psychiatric illnesses. They are also licensed to prescribe medication where applicable.
Psychologists: They have PhD or PsyD and are experts in psychology. They study the human mind and human behavior and are also trained to be counsellors, and can do psychotherapy and testing.
Social workers: These are specialists that provide specific types of social help in health-related situations and are usually provided and managed by government programs.
Licensed professional counsellors: Counsellors need to have a master’s degree in counselling and 3,000 counselling hours to be licensed in any state. They are certified or licensed to independently diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders.
2. Now that you’ve narrowed it down to the right professional to seek out, it’s time for you to start your search. You can start by doing a google search in your area, like under “find a therapist in Sacramento” or something like that. You should come up with a list of names and possibly even websites. Click on the links and see what you can find out about them, or their treatment methods.
3. Make a list of names. Based on what you’ve found and liked on your search, make a short-list of the mental health professionals that stood out to you based on what you were able to find on them. Include their telephone number and address on the list as well.
4. The next thing you want to do is create a list of issues you want to address, what you can afford in terms of cost (some people have insurance coverage for therapy and some programs might be free), and how much time you are willing to commit to therapy. You may also want to write down whether or not location is important to you.
5. Pick up the phone. Now that you’ve made a list of all of the therapists that you’re interested in, and have narrowed down what your needs are, start calling them. Ask questions about available appointment times and costs. You may need to give a general idea of what your specific issue is in order for them to determine the right person and treatment for you.