This website does not provide medical advice. The information on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician.
When you are choosing a mental health professional, it is important to focus on your unique condition. Your therapy preferences, medication needs, the type of symptoms you experience (and their severity) will all influence your choice.
If you live in a remote area or find it difficult to get around, you may want to consider a therapist who offers a range of accessibility options. In-person care is the only option with some practitioners of integrative psychiatry, while others facilitate virtual visits. Your health insurance provider may also have guidelines that affect your selection of behavioral health services.
Think About Your Needs
Your treatment requirements will affect your choice. If you need help with your marriage, looking for a licensed marital therapist may be better than finding a general therapist. In fact, sometimes a primary doctor or general therapist may be able to recommend a specialist who can provide help with marital problems that arise from narcissistic abuse, for example.
If you need help with substance abuse, all therapists can provide help, but you’ll gain even more from a provider who specializes in the area. The same applies to areas like family therapy, PTSD and depression. Psychology organizations can provide information on specialists.
Many therapists have a Master’s degree in counseling psychology. They may also have more advanced education in a specialized area that benefits you. Talk with those you are considering about the particular needs you have, and how their advanced training can help you.
Consider Your Location
Location can impact how often you go to see your counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, holistic psychiatrist, etc. While you may prefer a provider who is close by, someone else may like the relative anonymity of a therapist who is far from their community. Or perhaps you may find it convenient to visit a therapist who is on your route to work.
Some practitioners offer psychiatric services out of community centers. Others may be based at a hospital. Sometimes the option of a office setting is best for patients who would feel more comfortable in an environment that feels less clinical.
Take Insurance and Cost Into Account
Mental health professionals offer a vital aspect of care that can affect every part of your life. Despite that, you should never assume that your health insurance will cover every expense related to your treatment.
Discuss your policy with your insurer before choosing a psychiatrist. You may find that all of your care may be covered. However, sometimes only part of the fee is paid, or a limit is placed on how many sessions much your insurer will pay.
Additionally, you may want to ensure that any therapists you are considering are in your insurance provider’s network, since this will generally make your copays and other costs less expensive.
Will You Want Holistic Behavioral Health Services?
While the conventional methods used to treat mental health conditions are often effective, they sometimes have their limitations. A holistic psychiatrist seeks to address the gaps created by a treatment plan that only focuses on medication and other conventional therapies.
They may use online therapy as part of their approach. These doctors often look at the cause of your symptoms and work to help you address those. They may assess your nutrition and recommend supplements that bring balance to your physiology.
These practitioners work with you to develop a unique treatment plan. They may teach you how to use mindfulness to be aware of, and manage, the emotions and other factors that are affecting you.
Think About Accessibility
Therapists offer their patients several ways to receive care. Telemedicine is a popular option and this allows you to stay in touch with your mental health provider even when you are physically unable to visit their office.
If you are scheduled to speak with a therapist after an accident or injuries sustained during military service, for instance, telemedicine may be a good alternative for you. These therapists can talk with you on the phone, through video conferencing apps online and by using other means that allow you to speak comfortably.
Everything shared with your therapist during an online therapy session is treated as confidentially as it would be if you met face to face. This allows you to keep receiving treatment, even when physical conditions may have made it difficult otherwise.
Ensure They Are Licensed
The type of license that is held by your provider will depend on the state in which they work and on their level of institutional training. The services that they offer will also depend on their specialty area, so every therapist may not provide the specific type of treatment that you need.
Psychiatrists vs. Psychologists vs. Counselors
Whether you see a psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist will often depend on the type of treatment that you require. Since psychiatrists are physicians, they can prescribe medication. There are also certain other types of treatment that they alone can administer.
If you would benefit from electroconvulsive therapy or transcranial magnetic stimulation, for example, it has to be administered by a psychiatrist. The same applies to many other neuromodulatory treatments. If your condition is one where your body has become resistant to a certain medication, a psychiatrist can offer alternatives of talk to you about other effective types of treatment.
Certain conditions can be effectively managed with medication. For this reason, some psychiatrists may only see patients who need medication management. Others may integrate therapy or focus only on that aspect, so it’s important to ask questions about their approach.
A cognitive psychologist or clinical psychiatrist with their PhD often has extensive training in talk therapy. If you need help with cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy, they are a good option to look into.
Many counselors and clinical social workers are trained in interpersonal therapy but do not necessarily have a PhD. However, they may still be able to provide the type of therapy you need, especially if your concerns do not necessarily require medication. In fact, if you are seeing a counselor and feel like you may need medication, you can bring this up during your session and they may be able to refer you to a psychiatrist.