Choosing the right mental health professional
Therapy is not always easy. It requires work and can sometimes be painful. But finding the right professional to help you in the process can make a world of difference. How do you find a professional you can trust and with whom you can talk comfortably? The following suggestions may help.
First visit your primary care physician to rule out a medical cause for your problems.
After you eliminate any medical causes, check with your health insurance to see what kind of mental health care it covers. Most private insurance companies cover visits with Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Licensed Clinical Social Workers only. If you do not have health insurance and cannot afford the normal office rates, click here to visit learn more about our Sunbridge Counseling Program.
Psychiatrist - these core mental health professionals have had extensive residency experience and have earned the M.D. degree. Psychiatrists are the only mental health professionals who are allowed to prescribe medication.
Psychologist - the is a professional who has a doctoral-level degree in a psychology field and is licensed to practice in their state. Psychologists are the only mental health professionals required to hold a doctorate degree and are licensed to perform therapy, assessment, testing and other services. The professionals provide counseling and psychotherapy services.
Licensed Clinical Therapists - these are professional counselors who are state-licensed and authorized to assist clients in achieving personal health or mental health goals or in the treatment of various issues such as depression and anxiety. Professional Counselors work with clients on more daily life issues, rather than mental disorders requiring more extensive treatment or medication.
Types of Licensed Clinical Therapists include:
- Licensed Clinical Pastoral Therapists (LCPT)
- Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC)
- Licensed Counselor
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
- Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
- Licensed Master's Social Worker (LMSW)
- Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
- Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC)
- Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC)
- Certified Gambling Counselor (NCGC1 and NCGCII)
- Certified Senior Addiction Counselor (CAC III)
- Substance Abuse Counselor (SAC)
- Creative Arts Therapist (CAT)
- Licensed Professional Art Therapist (LPAT)
Click here to search our site and learn more about your available choices in Central Oklahoma.
After making your selection, call to find out about appointment availability, location and fees. You may want to verify that this professional accepts your health insurance or Medicaid/Medicare or offers a sliding-scale fee based on income. If you are satisfied with the response you receive, make an appointment.
During your first visit, take a deep breath and relax. Remember that the person in whom you are confiding is your partner in the healing process. He or she is ethically bound to keep what you say during your sessions confidential. The only exception to this is when plans or threats to harm another person are voiced. In that case, therapists are bound by law to report this information.
Describe those feelings and problems that motivated your to seek help. You will want to ask:
- What kind of therapy/treatment program is recommended?
- Is this type of therapy/treatment effective for dealing with problems such as yours?
- What are the benefits and side effects of this therapy/treatment?
- How much therapy is recommended?
- Is your therapist willing to coordinate your care with another practitioner if you are personally interested in exploring alternative therapies such as acupuncture?