Over 30 million Americans visit a licensed therapist each year. Some seek treatment for a mental illness, or help coping with tragedy, while others want assistance with a troubled marriage or advice on how to manage stress. Regardless of your motivation, there are some simple guidelines that can help you find the right therapist. A good first question to ask is whether you need a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Both psychiatrists and psychologists can provide therapy, but in general only psychiatrists can dispense prescription medications. If you are suffering from a mental illness like bipolar disorder then you should see a psychiatrist, otherwise it is okay to see whatever kind of therapist you prefer. You shouldn't see an unlicensed therapist. While all licensed therapists are bound by a code of ethics, which protects your confidentiality, no such ethical code applies to unlicensed individuals. Also, you should be wary of anyone unable to complete the training necessary to receive a license. Finding a therapist can be confusing. A key thing to remember is that effective therapy occurs in an environment where you feel comfortable being honest and can trust the advice you receive, even when it isn't what you want to hear. You shop around for a car; shop around for a therapist. Possibly the best way to pick a therapist (or any kind of doctor) is to ask friends and colleagues that you trust for recommendations. Winnow the list to 2 or 3 names of therapists who are considered very good and then make appointments with each. It may take a little time to find a therapist you can work with can, but putting the effort into finding someone with whom you feel comfortable is well worth it. Use your intellect and intuition when deciding on a doctor. When you are considering a particular therapist, here are some questions to ask: How frequently do you see people with my condition or concerns? What is my prognosis? Am I likely to be helped by therapy? How long do you think it will take for my condition to improve? No therapy is magic. Any therapist who promises a quick "cure" is trying to sell you a bill of goods. Although some patients will feel better after just one session, most problems that take time to develop usually also take some time to resolve. Want to learn more? Check out other videos and sources on this site for more information.
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Last Updated:December 20, 2012