Choosing The Best Therapist For Me

Updated November 25, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

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There are varying reasons why we may seek the help of a licensed therapist. A licensed professional therapist can be the best bet for dealing with certain conditions that concern our mental health. Often, these issues are rather sensitive and as such the discretion, empathy, and professionalism a therapist provides is often the healing we need to get through these circumstances. Choosing a therapist is a deeply personal decision that only you can truly make, but it requires some thought and some consideration about other factors as well. In fact, choosing a great therapist is going to require a great deal from you before anything can be done to help you. Understanding a little bit about what you're going through will help you how to find a psychologist or therapist, but don't assume that what you think is happening is all that there is. It's entirely possible that even more is going on under the surface, or that what you are feeling is only a symptom of something else.

What are the different types of therapy for mental health?

There is a wide range of therapy options available for you, however, you need to understand the types of therapy when trying to choose a therapist. Listing and trying to explain each and every type of these therapies would take a year perhaps and a professional course. However, understanding the basic types is just what you need to help you with these decisions. This is because some people may need a therapist with more advanced training to help them with their mental health while others may be satisfied with the help of a social worker. However, it is essential that you understand the roles these therapists play to help you make the right decision. 

1. Psychiatrist

Medical doctors who have the authorization to prescribe needed medication to their patients are known as a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist may also in addition to prescribing medication to patients practice psychotherapy. 

2. Psychologist

These medical practitioners although are similar to psychiatrists do not have the authorization to prescribe medications. As such, they usually work hand in hand with psychiatrist and doctors to help patients that may require medication. Often, psychologists usually hold a Ph.D. or Psy.D which offers them the training they need to understand the workings of the mind and how it corresponds to behavior.

Psychologists fall under two categories and that is the clinical and counseling psychologist. The major difference between these two psychologists is that clinical psychologist deals with severe mental health issues while the counseling psychologist deals with day to day health issues. Aside from that, there's also a lot of types of psychologists including a developmental psychologist, cognitive psychologist, school psychologist, and more. 

3. Licensed mental health counselor, licensed professional counselor, or licensed therapist

A licensed mental health counselor has a minimum of a master’s degree usually accompanied by several trainings and state certification. They can perform clinical counseling and online counseling if they choose to. These counselors are trained to help people with symptoms of mental illness and help them build better relations with those around them. They went through years of training and education to know how to become a counselor. You can trust counselors to find the best way to help you.

4. Licensed clinical social worker

LCSWs are often referred to as simply social workers or clinical social workers. They hold a master's in social work and have undergone a series of supervised work and training. It is uncommon to find a social worker referred to as a licensed master social worker (LMSC) in your bid for the right social worker. However, do not let this confuse you as the only difference is that an LMSC professionally coordinates therapies and services for individuals, families, groups, and communities and works under the supervision of a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist. Regardless, both the LMSC and LCSW are deeply skilled and committed to their work. 

Understanding the qualifications these therapists hold would offer you more clarity in your search for the right therapist for you. These therapists with their training can provide you with the best form of mental health care for mental illness and other mental health-related disorders.  There are different forms of therapies for each mental illness offering varying treatment methods. An understanding of these forms of therapies would help you in your search for the right therapist. This is because you would not only be well versed in the right therapy option for you but also be able to select a therapist based on the therapy they have available for mental illness.

Forms Of Therapies

1. Counseling, With A Mental Health Counselor

In high school, you might perhaps have at one point or the other been encouraged to visit the office of the guidance counselor for help with school and your studies. Although counseling in this scenario is similar to the guidance counseling you may have received at school, this is a more focused and in-depth form of therapy. This counseling therapy is appropriate for helping you deal with the emotional fallout that you may experience due to your present circumstances. Counseling oftentimes is offered to people who may have suffered traumatic events or major disasters. Counseling usually employs such techniques as giving you space to discuss your emotions as well as coping strategies to assist you in moving forward. This form of therapy would help you deal with grief, infertility, or serious changes that affect the balance in your life.

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

As the name suggests this form of therapy is a combination of two different therapies that is the cognitive and behavioral therapies. Cognitive therapy helps to shift your thinking pattern while behavioral therapy seeks to modify how you behave. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is for helping people to deal with panic attacks, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and similar health problems. When depression takes over, and you're constantly in the "I don't want to do anything" scenario, this therapy can help.

3. Psychotherapy (Also Known As Talk Therapy)

Psychotherapy is a form of therapy that involves a number of techniques all of which then delve into the patient's past. 

  • Psychoanalysis: this form of therapy has existed over the years and is sometimes referred to as talk therapy. It aims at helping people improve their mental health by expressing themselves. It often reveals unconscious problems that may be affecting the patient's mental health. This is often used while helping people who may be suffering from anxiety or self-esteem related issues. 
  • Psychodynamics: this form of therapy is deeply rooted in psychoanalysis. However, this therapy is often short term and focuses on one issue. The therapists help the patient to express their feelings, understand the beliefs and life experiences while trying to help them recognize reoccurring patterns in their life

Just like in humanistic psychology, psychotherapy helps the patient understand their experiences so they can resolve the conflicts within them. It is usually recommended for people dealing with stress, loneliness, anxiety, and even sexual related problems. During psychotherapy, patients are able to unravel life experiences that may be affecting their mental health.

4. Marriage And Family Therapy, With A Licensed Marriage And Family Therapist

This therapy combines varying techniques in dealing with the mental health of its patients. It helps to build a supportive emotional relationship among the individuals undergoing the therapy.

Some professionals may be found referring to marriage and family therapy as systematic therapy. Marriage and family therapists who refer to it as systematic therapy subscribes to the systems theory. The system theory perceives the family as a unit bounded with emotions she has its own rules and relations. The theory centralizes on ensuring that the system improves and functions appropriately.

Couples therapy is often varied as some therapists believe that the couples should see a therapist together while others think it is best they see the therapist separately. The intimate relationship may be ranging from sexual difficulties to distance and reoccurring fights. Regardless, of the issues the couple may be facing challenges, the couple may be seeking couples therapy as a pathway for them to improve and build on their intimate relationship. You can consult a marriage and family therapist if you and your family, or partner recognize issues within your relationship that you believe can be solved with therapy.

5. Eye Movement Desensitization And Processing (EMDR) Therapy

This form of therapy is usually used for people who suffer from trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. This therapy is implemented to help people deal with the emotions and unpleasant memories associated with this trauma. EMDR is sometimes employed with other forms of therapy to help trauma patients cope with their life experiences. It involves the use of the patient’s eye movement, and external physical stimuli to help the patient gradually let go of the painful memories that are affecting their mental health.  

6. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy 

This therapy is a comprehensive type of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). This therapy seeks to help patients by teaching them problem-solving techniques. Dialectal Behavioral therapy is appropriate for treating mental health issues like eating disorders, personality disorder, destructive thought patterns, self-harm, and more. 

7. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

This therapy employs mindfulness to treat patients. Mindfulness is used as a technique to assist patients to identify and understand their negative thoughts. MBCT is often used to deal with reoccurring depression but may be used to deal with other mental health related issues. 

Often, most therapists would combine different techniques and therapy to help their patient who is suffering from mental illness. these therapies can be combined and altered to suit the needs of the patient.  

Choosing The Best Therapist

If you are bothered with the thought of, “how do I find a therapist?”. The first thing you need to do is a little bit of research. Find out more about your options before you even think about anything else. If you are looking for a therapist that you can physically visit then, you need to look at therapists who are located near you, or at least within the range you're willing to drive. If you're open to something else, however, you can improve your chances of finding the ideal therapist for yourself, because you can start looking at online therapists to help you with your situation.

Online therapists are the same as the ones you would visit in person, but you don't have to worry about where they are located because you log on to a website to speak with them.

Several people may have reservations about the effectiveness of online therapy. This is because they think that physical contact is necessary for therapy and online therapy seems to lack that. However, over the years online therapy has proven effective in treating mental illness.  

The world is becoming more technologically inclined and the medical world isn’t left behind. Therapists are seeking new ways to promote the mental health of their patients without putting them into a lot of inconveniences. Online therapy has proven more than effective in reducing the challenges by providing therapy at just the fingertips of the patients. Patients can now through online therapy connect with their therapists from across the world. You can easily find a counselor or therapist and communicate with them in just a few minutes without having to travel across town.

This gives you a whole lot more freedom of where you want to be when you talk and even who you want to talk with because you're able to speak with a therapist located clear across the country if that's the one you feel the most comfortable with. That's the first and most important part of therapy, after all.

If you can feel comfortable with your therapist and even more with your surroundings then you're likely going to have a better chance of overcoming anything that you're experiencing. That's because you're more likely to attend each of your appointments and to open up to your therapist about things that are bothering you or what you're experiencing. By doing all of these things, you're setting yourself up for a better chance at success, which is what you're looking for after all, right? You want to make sure you're getting the therapy you need.

What Kind Of Therapist (Or Therapy) You Want

The next thing you'll need to consider is the type of therapy that you're looking for. If you need individual therapy, then you should seek out a therapist who does that. If you want a group or family therapy you need to make sure that your therapist does that. Starting with an individual session may be a great way to get to know your therapist and then determine more about the type of help that you're going to get and just why that type of therapy might be the better way. There are also different types of therapy specifically as well, which your therapist will help you understand.

Don't be afraid to change your therapist either. If you think you've found someone that you really like have a session with them. If, after the session, you don't feel comfortable or even during the session you don't feel comfortable it's okay to end the session and seek out someone else. It may take a couple of tries or several tries to find the right person, but you definitely can get there.

Getting Help With MyTherapist Mental Health Care 

One way that you can seek out additional help is with MyTherapist. It's an online system that allows you to reach out to a professional quickly and easily. You won't need to visit a physical location anymore so that you can get the treatment that you're looking for. Instead, you'll be able to log on to the website and reach out to the professional that you feel comfortable with. This can make it easier to attend therapy sessions when you're busy with all the other things that are happening in your life.

With an online session, all you need is a comfortable place to sit and an internet connection, and you can be ready to go just like that. You'll be able to log on from that comfortable spot even if you're not feeling the best or if you're out of town on vacation or a business trip or if the weather is bad and you can't leave the house. As long as you have an internet connection and a device that can connect to it you're going to have absolutely no problem logging on and getting the therapy that you want. Your sessions don't need to be canceled for practically any reason.

Conquer Life's Challenges With Affordable Help. Find The Best Fit For You

Getting Mental Health Care Is A Sign Of Strength

Remember, your therapist is a deeply personal choice, and it's something that no one else can decide for you. Just because a friend recommends someone or they're well known, or they're even the best in the country or have a lot of awards and recognition, and education doesn't mean that they're going to be the right person for you. You don't have to think that someone is what you need when you don't feel comfortable just because of some other feature or recognition that they're received. It's going to depend a great deal on how you feel. Above all, remember that taking control of your mental health and prioritizing your own health shows strength. Help is always available.

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