How to Choose a Psychologist?

At some time in our lives, each of us may feel overwhelmed and may need help dealing with our problems. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 30 million Americans need help dealing with feelings and problems that seem beyond their control -- problems with a marriage or relationship, a family situation, or dealing with losing a job, the death of a loved one, depression, stress, burnout, or substance abuse. Those losses and stresses of daily living can at times be significantly debilitating. Sometimes we need outside help from a trained, licensed professional in order to work through these problems. Through therapy, psychologists help millions of Americans of all ages live healthier, more productive lives.

A therapist and client work together. The right match is important. You want to be certain that the therapist is appropriately credentialed to provide services to you, as well as being experienced in treating the types of issues you are presenting. You should feel comfortable in asking the therapist about his/her education, training, credentials, experience and specialty areas. You should ask about fees, about insurance, and about billing and office procedures. Feel free to interview several therapists, by telephone or in person, before making a choice. Following the initial contact, you may want to meet two or three times before you decide to work together. These sessions, called consultation sessions, will help you determine if the therapist is right for you.