Mental health is a sensitive subject. Although many people don’t truly understand how deep the negative impacts of problems such as depression and anxiety can be, the people who actually experience the symptoms do comprehend the magnitude.
For the 21% of people in the US who have some type of mental disorder, one of the most effective steps is to consult a certified health counselor. These experts are familiar with how to help patients cope with their symptoms and eventually break free of the mental imprisonment that depression or anxiety puts them in.
The secret here is to look for someone who doesn’t just have the knowledge and experience but is also an expert that can connect with you and vice versa. It can be a challenging process, but the results are well worth it.
Here are a few helpful tips that can assist you in finding the right mental health counselor:
Counseling is more than just talk therapy
It’s not like you see in the movies… well, it is, and it isn’t! Let us explain. Talk therapy, the part they show in the movies where the patient sits down and has an hour-long discussion with their therapist, is a vital part of the whole counseling process. However, that’s not all there is to it. It is about a whole lot else. The true science of psychology is understanding the patient, choosing the right talk therapy approachexperimenting with various forms of treatment, and eventually putting the individual at ease.
The internet is a helpful resource
The internet opens you to a different and extensive world. You can start your search online when looking for your ideal mental health counselor. There are several databases that carry the contact information for some of the most qualified mental health specialists in the world. Whether you need a doctor for a particular need like anxiety, social work, or even relationship counseling, you can easily enter your parameters and find the best match online.
Moreover, today you have access to some of the best Telehealth platforms in the world. These portals virtually connect you with amazing professionals, including mental health counselors. You don’t even have to make the effort of traveling to a clinic physically. All you need is an active internet connection and a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Within minutes, you can get online with a specialist who can help you deal with whatever issues you face.
Understand that some counselors are a better fit than others
Although a lot of professionals can offer mental health counseling and psychotherapy, not all of them will be a good fit for you. Being able to find the right specialist is not just about establishing a good mental connection but also about your needs. There are niches for specialists in mental health as well. For instance, some counselors excel in couples therapy, while others are experts in treating patients with PTSD. You need to be clear about your requirements before you can pick the right therapist.
Some of the questions that can help you narrow your search on both these parameters include:
- How well is the professional truly listening to what you have to say?
- What are your first impressions of them?
- Do you feel they are competent and affirming enough to support your treatment?
- Do they have experience treating patients of similar age and conditions as you?
- Are they available for virtual sessions or only physical ones?
- What are their times, and is their office location convenient for you?
- Will they accept your insurance, and if not, are the services affordable and within your budget?
Together the answers to these queries will make it easier for you to decide whether they are the right fit for you or not.
If nothing else is working, look for recommendations in your circle
There are chances that neither the counselor you find through a Telehealth platform nor through your online search offers what you are looking for. In this case, you will have to resort to the old-school route of finding qualified resources.
The first step in the process is to ask around for recommendations. There is a high chance that someone from your friends or family circle has visited a mental health professional or knows someone who took therapy sessions that were effective. Make sure that the suggestion comes from a person whose opinion you can trust.
Go through the credentials of the counselor being recommended
The counselor may come highly recommended, but once again, you’ll need to know if they are a good fit for you. Since every person, their needs, and their ability to trust someone is different; you will have to assess the counselor for yourself before moving forward. Start by assessing their experience, academic credentials, and past performance. Look for any specializations that they have or niches that they serve. Also, look at the feedback and reviews people have left for them.
Have a one-on-one session
Now that your background research is complete and everything seems to be in order, it is time to take the next step and meet with the counselor to analyze their effectiveness. During this session, you should evaluate how well they can communicate, how comfortable they make you feel, and whether they are empathetic and non-judgmental. All these elements together will tell you whether you’ve found the right counselor or not.
Choosing a mental health counselor is a crucial task because if they are to be effective at helping to recover, there has to be a connection between you two. It’s not just about experience and knowledge alone. How well a professional is able to put you at ease and give you enough confidence to talk about the things you are dealing with is the true test of their ability. It also shows if they are a great fit for you or not. So use the above-mentioned tips to help you identify the right professional.
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