Updated: Feb 24
Look, it happens to the best of us, life wears us down, or our mental demons just won't stay hidden under that ever-bulging proverbial rug, things get too hard, too much, way too fast. There comes a time, sometimes, when you think, for whatever reason, that we need more help than we can give ourselves, I'm drowning and I need a lifeboat. It's then that we go on the sullen search for professional support, a shrink as my friends from across the pond call them, to be fair, there's nothing diminutive about it, arguable top-10 in the not so successful, but incredibly well priced (cheap) 'Worst moments of my life' album.
But then comes the big question Doctor Who? Yes, ha ha, I used a British television icon to make a funny quip, but you laughed right? Come on?! Ok, ok, but I know that I managed to make you at least force a smile. In all seriousness, however, you've accepted, albeit begrudgingly that you need to see someone (on a side note, how sad is that, that even today, in 2020, it's seen as weak or weird when we need to see a therapist, I mean, if I had any other physiological disease or ailment, no one and I mean no one would bat an eye if I went to see a doctor, heck, people would tell me off if I didn't and call me an idiot for ignoring it, but when it comes to mental health, ignorance is bliss apparently) but you don't know how you can choose a good psychologist from the wide range that exists. It's not like picking a pair of shoes up off the self, this is one of 'those' choices, the ones that could change the trajectory of your life, for better or for worse...
So what can you do to select the right one? The right guy, or gal for you, who will help you carry your burden and give you the tools you need to traverse this fuckery we call life.
The fact is that we all know someone who has gone to a psychologist and has not achieved anything, sometimes getting even worse, hopping from one doctor to the next like the Duracell bunny after a few wind-ups.
Those people who have been in therapy for months on end and all they got out of it was was expensive ranting sessions, on a nice chaise longue (those fancy, swoopy chairs essential in every therapist office) but have not been able to learn to handle discomfort or better deal with situations.
What Are The Signs A Psychologist Is Just Wrong (For You)?
The main problem we find ourselves with is that practically anyone can open a 'psychotherapy office' and refer to themselves as 'councillors' or 'psychotherapists' and offer Googled mental health advice, even without having a psychology degree! (I was as shocked as you are right now when I found out) Therefore, the first thing that has to give us to think about is the therapist's qualification, make sure your therapist is qualified and not just a mental health enthusiast using your mental health as a training ground.
In this sense, special care must be taken with all the alternative currents that are emerging to treat emotional problems, such as anxiety. They are those new "miracle" therapies that "heal" without doing anything. Reiki (Japanese energy healing) and bach flowers (just a normal flower really) are an example of those therapies that have not demonstrated proven efficacy.
Are You Right For Me; The Right Question To Find Out!
There is no need to be ashamed. After all, we are going to spend our money and more importantly our time and hopes on the sessions. That is why we want a psychologist! First of all, we will have to inform ourselves of the qualification that the therapist has.
How Should The Process Be?
When we ask them about how the therapeutic process is carried out, there are a series of answers that will indicate that this may be a psychologist who helps us overcome our discomfort. The reality is that treatment has to be structured.
Therefore, we can choose a suitable psychologist if he tells us that he carries out evaluation and treatment planning. In general, in the first two sessions, the evaluation process is carried out and, based on the results obtained, the objectives to be achieved and the means to achieve them are proposed.
Don't Spill My Tea!
Make sure confidentiality is guaranteed! I can't stress how important the confidentiality of anything you say or do must be assured at meetings is. As a general rule, your personal data cannot ever be disclosed by any professional psychologist or by any company constituted by psychologists. If in some way this confidentiality is infringed, that fact may be cause for complaint.
Is The Intervention Proposal Clear?
Choosing a good psychologist is also choosing a professional who knows how to communicate well with their patients and who does not reserve information about their plan to intervene through therapy. This is why a good therapist should be able to clearly explain the number of sessions planned and what will happen during those sessions.
In the same way, they must also be able to offer clear answers to all the doubts about the therapy that may arise.
With these steps in mind, you should already be able to make a well-informed decision when choosing a good psychologist. Keep in mind, however, that these are just a few of the main points I used when I was looking for a therapist and that there may also be more or different things that are important to you on your quest to find the therapist right for you.
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