How to choose a therapist and a therapy approach?
Choosing a Therapist
Choosing a therapist can be an overwhelming task. One look in the yellow pages shows lists of names, and not everyone lists in the yellow pages. One factor to consider is that there are many possible credentials of therapists. Some people identify themselves as therapists but do not have credentials that require licensure within their state. In general, a licensed practitioner will have been through a screening process that usually involves testing within their field. The level of training is another consideration. There are master’s levels (social workers), doctorate levels (psychologists), as well as medical doctorate levels (psychiatrists) who conduct psychotherapy. Clinicians of various credentials may then have further training within a specific area of psychotherapy, such as psychoanalysis.
If you think that you will need medication, it may be more fruitful to see a psychiatrist who also performs psychotherapy. Because of cost considerations, however, this option is not always feasible. Many insurance plans will provide reimbursement for a master’s level therapist only, and fees are usually less than that for psychologists or psychiatrists. If there is a specific treatment modality in mind, one method of finding a therapist is to obtain referrals from professional societies for that specific modality. If modality is not the issue of concern, referrals can be obtained from a primary care physician. Questions may be asked of the therapist over the phone and a consultation arranged. If you are uncomfortable with the therapist after the consultation, it is important to consider the reasons for your discomfort. Sometimes individual psychological issues are projected onto the therapist immediately and thus are avoided by failing to continue to see the therapist. However, a fit with the therapist’s style needs to be achieved in order to develop a working relationship.