Providence Psychology’s goal is for you to have a satisfying, productive counseling experience with a qualified professional who can help. Get the most out of therapy with these tips. Also, learn how to choose the right therapist for you.
Enhancing Your Therapy Experience
Please Note: There are exceptions to the rule of confidentiality. Your psychologist will discuss these exceptions before therapy begins.
Unfortunately, the practice of psychology is still subject to fad treatments which at best are harmless and ineffective, but at worst do more harm than good. The public needs to be protected from such sham treatments. There is an art and a science to good psychotherapy. The science often gets lost in the art, but at Providence Psychology, we strive to achieve an effective balance to provide the highest quality service possible.
Finding the Right Therapist
- Medical professionals you trust such as your primary care doctor or psychiatrist
- Friends and family, especially ones in your situation
- Insurance providers
Or just call around and ask questions to see who might be a good fit. Some therapists are very good at what they do, but many are not. It may take several meetings with various providers to find someone who is suited to meet your needs. Many therapists are very good at what they do, but that doesn’t mean they are a good fit for you.
- Credentials. Do they have a doctoral degree, master’s degree, medical degree? What field, what profession?
- Experience. How long has the person been in practice? If someone has been successfully doing this work for a long time, it’s generally a good sign. There are very good people who are just starting out, as well as some not so good ones who may have survived over time, so be cautious with this guideline.
- Referrals. Where does the person get most of their clients? Good referral sources include word-of-mouth, other mental health practitioners, medical doctors, and school systems. Practitioners who rely heavily on advertisement, solicitations, or frequently changing referral sources may not be as reputable.
- Ask questions. Does the practitioner allow you to ask professional questions about them? Their credentials, background, areas of expertise, theoretical framework? Do they give you specific answers? Are they defensive or vague? Do they openly admit their limitations or indicate specific disorders or populations with whom they will not work? Good clinicians know what they are good at and recognize those limitations.
- Availability. Good, reputable providers who take insurance are generally busy and have waiting lists. You may want to be cautious of clinicians who take insurance and are “very available.”
- Approach. Does the clinician operate from a specific theoretical framework? While there are certainly good, broadly trained clinicians, most gravitate to a specific therapy that works well for them or the disorders they typically treat. However, many professionals identify themselves as “eclectic,” which means they will use whatever school of thought will work best in that particular situation. Generally, this is something to be avoided. If you have an anxiety disorder that will respond to cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, you should see someone who specializes in that work and has successfully treated individuals in your similar situation.
- Clientele. What kind of clients make up the majority of the clinicians practice? If you are suffering from major depression, see someone who treats a lot of those cases.
- Research. Do your homework. You can conduct online searches of clinicians to verify their license status, look up any complaints made against them, or see if they were ever sanctioned by their professional board for ethical violations. A complaint in itself may not be sufficient reason to avoid a clinician. Unfortunately, mental health practitioners are often the subject of frivolous complaints or lawsuits. However, if there is a sanction by a professional board, this should be treated as a red flag.
- Becomes defensive
- Ignores or dismisses your discomfort
- Does not engage you in the problem solving process
Even if you both do all the right things, it still may not work out, and that’s OK. It’s not necessarily a reflection on the psychologist or you, just recognition of the limits of the circumstances. If you decide to part ways, you should ask for help in finding another competent treatment provider.
Other resources also available on our Resources page.