Choosing a psychologist depends on the quality of their practice and the person’s individual preference. A person should find a qualified psychologist with experience in their area who they feel comfortable with.
The role of a psychologist is to help people with mental health conditions as well as other general life challenges. It is a position of responsibility.
A doctoral psychologist undergoes a huge amount of training to earn their qualification. They usually begin with 4 years of undergraduate study and 4 years of graduate study, followed by additional training and placements.
This article will discuss what a psychologist is, what they can help with, and how to choose one.
A psychologist is a type of doctor who specializes in mental health challenges.
Psychologists use a background in general science and the behavioral and neurosciences to help people pinpoint the reason they think, feel, or behave in a certain way.
From there, they will work toward finding the underlying cause or trigger. The psychologist can then help the person work through their problems and change their behaviors if they need to.
Psychologists work with people from a range of backgrounds and personal histories. Some are more general in their practice, while others specialize in certain areas.
A person may seek a psychologist’s help for various reasons. Reasons may be long-term, such as chronic depression, or short-term, such as grief.
Other examples include helping people cope with:
- pain-related mental health issues
- relationship problems
- cognitive problems
- criminal tendencies
- adjustment to disability
Some psychologists specialize or have experience in particular fields of study. A person should check to see if the psychologist has prior experience of the concern that they are seeking treatment for.
The American Psychological Association (APA) suggest that a good psychologist will consider a person’s:
- unique values
- personal goals
A doctoral psychologist should carry a relevant license, having completed doctoral level training and placement.
Some states may recognize certain credentials, while others will not. This is something to check before choosing a psychologist, as their qualification may not be valid locally.
A psychologist who works well for one person may not have the same result with another. When choosing a psychologist, there are professional and personal factors that people should consider.
An effective psychologist will be able to work with a person’s individual needs, including the problem itself and how they deliver treatment.
There are different approaches that a psychologist may use depending on the issue.
Choosing a psychologist with experience in the relevant field will increase the chance of a therapy plan working. This will partly depend on the type of treatment a person would like to undergo.
A psychologist may use consultations alone or include other methods, such as medication or hypnotherapy. However, it is important to note that psychologists cannot prescribe drugs in all states.
A person must feel completely comfortable with their psychologist for the therapy to be effective. Having a good relationship makes it easier to open up about sensitive topics.
A psychologist may work in private practice or as part of another workplace. For example, a school or college campus may have a psychologist on site, and they often work in general hospitals.
Treatment fees vary depending on the healthcare environment and factors such as insurance.
Some health insurance companies cover mental health treatment, but this is not always the case. It is important to check an insurance policy to see if it covers psychological therapy.
If a person does not have health insurance, the psychologist may charge using a sliding scale fee policy. This means that they alter the fees depending on the person’s income.
Children’s brains are constantly developing, and there are many reasons that a person may take a child to see a psychologist. Whatever the situation, a child psychologist plays an important role.
It is essential to check the area that a child psychologist specializes in before starting treatment with them.
For example, a child psychologist may specialize in:
- developmental child psychology
- abnormal child psychology
- adolescent psychology
These categories rely on different areas of competence and skill.
A developmental child psychologist will specialize in more typical situations, such as cognitive development, while an abnormal child psychologist will work with less common issues, such as mental health conditions. Adolescent psychologists will work with children aged 12–18 years.
Having an initial consultation will allow a person to see if they “click” with their psychologist. This is a good time to ask the more technical questions about the therapy.
The following are some things a person may wish to do during the initial consultation:
- Check what qualifications the psychologist holds. Also, make sure that they are state licensed.
- Ask the psychologist about their experience and interest within the field. This will make it easier to see if they are the right fit for the person.
- Enquire about fees. Check how much treatment will cost and whether or not insurance will cover it.
- Find out what the treatment plan involves. Is the therapy entirely consultation-based, or does the psychologist include any other techniques?
Do not be afraid to ask questions that seem uncomfortable. It is better to be confident in a psychologist and their ability from the start than to realize a mistake after the therapy has begun.
A psychologist can help with many problems. It may be a good idea to seek help if a person is experiencing extreme levels of:
- aggression or other unusual behaviors
A good indicator of when to seek help is if a mental health challenge is affecting a person’s daily activities, such as their sleep or work.
There are different areas that a psychologist may specialize in, such as child, cognitive, or behavioral psychology.
When finding a psychologist, a person should choose someone who has experience in the area they are looking for help with. It is also vital to establish a good connection with the psychologist, as they will need to understand personal details so they can help.
It is a good idea to ask plenty of questions in the first session with a psychologist. This will lower the chance of any unpleasant surprises, such as unexpected fees, later on.