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Seeing a Psychologist and How to Choose the Right One

At least 30 million Americans are struggling with overwhelming thoughts and emotions, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Joblessness, divorce, stress, burnout, substance abuse – these and other problems can indeed be paralyzing. But these are common issues human beings face, you may say. Do you really need to see a psychologist?

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.

> It’s hard for you to do regular, day-to-day tasks – for example, you can’t seem to focus on your job and your performance begins to suffer.

> You worry irrationally and too much or feel that you are always nervous or on edge.

> You engage in harmful behavior, such as abusing drugs, drinking too much alcohol, etc.

Choosing a Psychologist

This training includes completing a supervised clinical internship at a hospital or any organized medical setting, as well as post doctoral supervised experience for no less than one year. After this, they can establish an independent practice in any preferred health care arena. 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.
In most cases, psychologists need to demonstrate consistent competence and take continuing education courses in order to renew their licenses. American Psychological Association (APA) members additionally must follow a strict code of ethics.

Asking Questions

It’s easy to assume that if a psychologist is well-credentialed, he or she is automatically good for you. Not always. There are other things you need to know, and the only way to know is to ask them questions. So set up a meeting your prospective psychologist, and don’t hesitate to ask the following:

> How long have you been practicing as a psychologist?

> How much have you worked with people having issues like mine?

> What are your fields of expertise?

> What treatments do you often use, and is there evidence that they are effective for the kind of situation I’m in?

> What are your fees (these are usually based on 45 to 50-minute sessions)? What payment policies do you have? What kinds of insurance will you take?

Personal Chemistry

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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