The Key Elements of Great Health

Seeing a Psychologist and Picking 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, from stress to joblessness to divorce and more, can indeed feel crippling. 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 have a strong and prolonged feeling of sadness and helplessness that never gets better despite your or your friends’ and family’s efforts to make 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 develop harmful habits, like excessive drinking, substance abuse, etc.

Choosing a Psychologist

As part of their training, they have to finish a supervised clinical internship at an organized health setting, such as a hospital, and spend at least a year in acquiring 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 must also be licensed by the state or jurisdiction of their practice.
To renew their licenses, psychologists often have to take continuing education courses and demonstrate competence on a consistent basis. In addition, members of the American Psychological Association (APA) must adhere to 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 necessarily. 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 long have you been practicing as a psychologist?

> How much experience do you have with people who have problems similar to mine?

> What are your fields of expertise?

> 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 payment policies do you have? What kinds of insurance will you take?

Personal Chemistry

Finally, it is crucial that you and chosen psychologist are a match. After everything else checks out – competence, credentials, etc. – it should boil down to the psychologist’s personality and how it jives with 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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