Ways to find a good mental health fit.
With what seems like unlimited options, it can be overwhelming to choose the right kind of mental health care for you. There are online, in-seat, self-help, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, life coaches, youtube videos, your best friend, teletherapy, texting therapy, insurance, HSA, cash pay, sliding scale and so much more. It can get rather confusing and the anxiety that comes with trying to make this decision can often lead to indecision altogether.
I want to help dissect a few of the options to make it a bit easier for you to decide whose chair to sit in. Making the choice to seek out mental health treatment is a big one to start with. So, congratulations on getting this far, and I am sorry it can be so confusing once you're here.
The first point is the most important and it will take a lot of pressure off of you! The number one most important factor when it comes to successful therapy is the therapeutic relationship between the therapist and client. They can be the most educated and well-respected Ph.D. in the world, but if you don't vibe with them, they will more than likely have very little effect on you. There are many different therapeutic orientations, educational programs, and specialties so, don't get me wrong, education matters. However, so you do and your style/personality. Keep that in the forefront of your mind as you begin your search.
Here is a very brief and baseline guide to a few different options of mental health treatment. Please note each type of care in this list is much more in-depth. If any of them sound interesting to you I encourage you to take a deeper dive to find out more. Please feel free to give me a call and I can help clarify any of these options as well.
Master degree and state licensing. Can have many different specialties. Great baseline and overall mental health treatment. Most offer both in-seat and video sessions.
These are the ones that can prescribe medications. Will sometimes utilize talk therapy, however will most often refer for counseling and stick to prescriptions.
There are some amazing self-help books and youtube channels out there. This is when you choose to sit in your own seat which can sometimes be a good place to start if you are very self-motivated and driven.
No formal education required. Cannot diagnose or treat serious mental health disorders. Good for general wellness, motivation, or maintainance programs.
PhD. Very research driven. Can do clinical counseling sessions and research design and experimentation. Great understanding of human behavior from a scientific lens.
Online corporations offering text support or video/phone calls. Short term, no in-person care. Offers budget-friendly care and can be very valuable if traveling often.
Masters degree and state licensing. Typically takes a social justice and or social/family perspective on care.
Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong answer here. There are many different types of care options because there are many different types of people looking for care and something different might speak to each person. This process can sometimes take some trial and error before finding the best option for you. Most mental health providers will offer a free consultation before beginning treatment. I always recommend taking advantage of this opportunity to ask a few important questions and get a feel for the connection.
Here are a few good things to keep in mind on a consultation call with your new possible therapist:
-What is your education or training background?
-Do you have any specialties or a specific niche?
-What is your availability (make sure they have options that will work comfortably with your schedule)?
-What are your fees/ do you accept my insurance (you can also ask if they offer a sliding scale if you are needing any financial help)?
-If you are concerned about any health policies or telehealth options, be sure to ask about their procedure.
Things to consider during the consultation call
-Catch their vibe and see if you are comfortable chatting with them
-Share a little bit about what made you want to call and gauge how their response makes you feel.
-This is a screening process for you to decide to hire them. They are there as a resource for you, so you can be honest and ask all the questions you need to.
-If you are coming in for a very specific reason or experience see if they have an understanding, training, or baseline knowledge in this area.
-Don't feel like you have to decide at that moment. You can always take your time and call around to compare your thoughts and feelings.
-Ask any trusted friends or family members how they feel about their mental health provider to see if they would feel comfortable referring you.
-Take notes so you can remember what they are offering and compare to other providers.
-Check out their website or "Psychology Today" profile to get an idea of their personality as well.
Hopefully, this bit of information and guidance will help you on your search to find whose chair to sit in. Whether that is a new therapist, somebody who was referred to you, or maybe your own chair.
As always, I am here for any questions, comments, or concerns as you dive into your mental health journey.