Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join WSPA
Community Search
Choosing a Psychologist
Share |

How to Choose a Psychologist

(Source: The American Psychological Association)

At some time in our lives, each of us may feel overwhelmed and may need help dealing with our problems. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 30 million Americans need help dealing with feelings and problems that seem beyond their control — problems with a marriage or relationship, a family situation or dealing with losing a job, the death of a loved one, depression, stress, burnout or substance abuse. Those losses and stresses of daily living can at times be significantly debilitating. Sometimes we need outside help from a trained, licensed professional in order to work through these problems. Through therapy, psychologists help millions of Americans of all ages live healthier, more productive lives.

Consider therapy if...

  •  You feel an overwhelming and prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness, and your problems do not seem to get better despite your efforts and help from family and friends. 
  • You are finding it difficult to carry out everyday activities: for example, you are unable to concentrate on assignments at work, and your job performance is suffering as a result. 
  •  You worry excessively, expect the worst or are constantly on edge. Your actions are harmful to yourself or to others: for instance, you are drinking too much alcohol, abusing drugs or becoming overly argumentative and aggressive.

What is a psychologist and what is psychotherapy?

Psychologists who specialize in psychotherapy and other forms of psychological treatment are highly trained professionals with expertise in the areas of human behavior, mental health assessment, diagnosis and treatment, and behavior change. Psychologists work with patients to change their feelings and attitudes and help them develop healthier, more effective patterns of behavior.

Psychologists apply scientifically validated procedures to help people change their thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Psychotherapy is a collaborative effort between an individual and a psychologist. It provides a supportive environment to talk openly and confidentially about concerns and feelings. Psychologists consider maintaining your confidentiality extremely important and will answer your questions regarding those rare circumstances when confidential information must be shared.

How do I find a psychologist?

To find a psychologist, ask your physician or another health professional.  Consult a local university or college department of psychology. Ask family and friends. Contact your area community mental health center. Inquire at your church or synagogue. Or, use the WSPA Find a Psychologist referral service.

What to consider when making the choice

Psychologists and clients work together. The right match is important. Most psychologists agree that an important factor in determining whether or not to work with a particular psychologist, once that psychologist's credentials and competence are established, is your level of personal comfort with that psychologist. A good rapport with your psychologist is critical. Choose one with whom you feel comfortable and at ease.

Questions to ask

Are you a licensed psychologist? How many years have you been practicing psychology? I have been feeling (anxious, tense, depressed, etc.) and I'm having problems (with my job, my marriage, eating, sleeping, etc.). What experience do you have helping people with these types of problems? What are your areas of expertise — for example, working with children and families? What kinds of treatments do you use, and have they been proven effective for dealing with my kind of problem or issue? What are your fees? (Fees are usually based on a 45-minute to 50-minute session.) Do you have a sliding-scale fee policy? What types of insurance do you accept? Will you accept direct billing to or payment from my insurance company? Are you affiliated with any managed care organizations? Do you accept Medicare or Medicaid insurance?

Another resource:
Here is a link to a consumer guide that can help explain your rights to coverage and care under federal and state mental health parity laws.

more Latest News

2/21/2017WA Psychologist

2/21/2017News Archive

more Calendar

4/1/2017
April 1st Workshop Series

4/29/2017
April 29th - OCD Workshops

5/6/2017
Transgender Care 101: Psychological, Medical, and Pharmacological Perspectives

Featured Members

Online Surveys
Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal