It’s so easy to feel lost when finding a psychologist and there are so many factors that come in to finding the right one for you. A lot of the time it is trial and error to find the psychologist you connect with and it’s a lot like dating, sometimes you connect, sometimes you don’t and it’s nothing personal.
Some things to consider when finding a psychologist:
- Specialty – is there a specific area you need help with? Is there a specific therapy type you think will work best for you?
- General or clinical psychologist – in this post we looked at the differences between general and clinical psychologists. You may need to have more intense treatment in that case a clinical psychologist is probably going to be a better fit than a general psychologist.
- Gender – is there a particular gender you feel more comfortable around?
- Religion – if you’re religious you may feel more comfortable seeing a psychologist of the same religion. It is important to remember that psychologists should not enforce their religious beliefs on you, as psychology is a science.
- Location – how far are you prepared to travel to see them? Are they close to your home or workplace?
- What hours do they work – do they only work specific days or hours? Do these hours work in with you?
Once you’ve answered the above questions you can work on finding one that meets your criteria.
The obvious one is to talk to your doctor because they will know your needs the best and will have a good idea of who could suit you (many doctors keep records of psychologists they have referred to in the past). You could also use a website such as Australian Psychological Society or Australian Clinical Psychology Association where you can search by interest, location, area of practice and education level. Another way is to ask around and see if any friends or family members know of any psychologists they could recommend. Please be aware that many psychologists now have a policy where they won’t see friends or family members of existing patients.
Once you have found a psychologist don’t expect to connect with them right away, give them a few sessions and expect to feel at times that you’re not getting anywhere. If you don’t connect with them after a while, it’s completely ok to find another psychologist, you may also find that as your treatment progresses you need a different treatment type or other support that your current psychologist can’t offer.
Feel free to drop by, just say, ‘Hey Erin’ in strict confidence and you can be anonymous if you wish. Or, do not hesitate to leave a question in the comments below any time.