How do you find a good psychotherapist?
Many of you have been referred to a psychiatrist by your doctors and perhaps you have had a bad experience. You’ve been told that the illness doesn’t exist or it is in your head. However, there are many other ways to find a right psychotherapist. and a good one can be very helpful, even a godsend when you are suffering from an illness like Fibromyalgia.
First, you might ask your friends or colleagues for a recommendation. These days, many more people than you think are in Therapy.
Second, you might call some of the associations: American Psychological Association, the American association for Marriage and Family therapy, Association of Clinical Social Workers etc. There are many other associations in each county, state and country. A Google search will generally show the many groups and associations..
Third, The good old Yellow Pages will have pages of listings under: Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Family Therapy, Counseling, etc.
Now that you have names, what should you do? I would call the practitioner. Chances are you might get the answering machine, so leave a message to have them call you and explain how you’re interested in beginning therapy. When they return the call, speak to them for 15 minutes, Ask how long they’ve practiced, do they have experience with Fibromyalgia, P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and/or dealing with chronic illnesses. If you feel good about this person, ask to schedule a 1/2 hour appointment to speak to the therapist in person. Explain how you’d like to see if you and this therapist will be a good fit. (Hint, most times, you should not have to pay for this consultation).
Visit the practitioner and again, see how “the fit” is. Do you feel an affinity, are you comfortable; go with your instinct. If the answer is no, thank the person and move on. There are no shortages of therapists. It might take you 2 or 3 tries or more, but eventually you’ll find the right one. Never settle! Don’t be discouraged. As I had said before, in all professions there are the good and not so good.
A good Therapist can tremendously help you and make life bearable, especially when dealing with a chronic illness.
Next: Types of Psychotherapy.