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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 you might say, these are but common, day-to day issues that human beings normally deal with in life. Do you really need to see a psychologist?

You should consider seeking psychological treatment if any of the following applies to you:

> 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.

> 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 have irrational worries or a feeling of being constantly on edge.

> You start abusing drugs, drinking too much alcohol or any habit that are destructive to you and others.

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 blend of doctoral-level training and clinical internship sets psychologists apart from other mental health care providers.

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. Moreover, Americal Psychological Association (APA) members are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics.

Asking Questions

It’s easy to think that any well-credentialed psychologist is good for you. Not really. There’s more you have to know, and to know these things, you need to ask questions. So set up a meeting your prospective psychologist, and don’t hesitate 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 you payment policies? > What types of insurance will you accept?

Personal Chemistry

Lastly, it is a must that you and your psychologist get along. After everything else checks out – competence, credentials, etc. – it should boil down to the psychologist’s personality and how it jives with yours. A psychologist you don’t even like can hardly help you.

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