Some keys to identify a psychologist that suits your needs.
Choosing the psychologist who is going to offer us your sessions may seem like an easy task in a time when the internet allows you to quickly locate the closest consultation.
If we live in a small population, we may only have to inform ourselves about which mental health professionals practice in our locality, and if we are in a large urban center we will continue to have many tools to inform us about all the nearby consultations. However, things get complicated when we introduce the variable “quality” into the equation.
Choosing a good psychologist is not always an easy task, since there are many factors to take into account and some of them depend on the type of specific service we are looking for.
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Tips for choosing a good psychologist
Of course, each case deserves to be studied and it is impossible to give specific keys to select the best of all professionals without knowing the characteristics of the patient and the psychologists available in the area. However, you can follow some general guidelines that will help you choose a good psychologist.
Here are ten of these keys.
1. Make sure she’s a psychologist or psychologist
The first point in choosing a good psychologist is … make sure they are a psychologist or psychologist. It seems like a very obvious point, but it is worth bearing in mind. Labels and denominations abound in the labor market that make us think that whoever uses them to define himself is a psychologist. However, it is not true: nowadays it is possible to present oneself as a “psychotherapist” or “therapist” without having completed a university degree in psychology. Cases of labor intrusion have been reported.
Someone who claims to be a psychotherapist does not have to be a psychologist, although a psychologist can be a psychotherapist. To be sure that the person who offers you the sessions has a university training in psychology, you can check if they have a collegiate number and official university degree.
2. Check that they have a specialization in what you are looking for
There are many types of psychologists, and not all of them have to be right for what you are looking for. To begin with, you should find out if the professional who is going to treat you is specifically trained in clinical psychology, since there are also psychologists whose specialization is focused on marketing, laboratory research or Human Resources. Keep in mind that, depending on the country in which you live, to be a clinical psychologist a university degree may be sufficient or you may also have to complete at least a post-university master’s degree.
Once you have made sure that you are choosing from among those qualified in clinical or health psychology, find out which of these are specialized in the problems you want to treat.
3. Find out about the type of psychotherapeutic approach offered
A psychologist can offer psychotherapeutic approaches that do not currently have solid evidence about their effectiveness, such as past life therapy and other alternative therapies. This is not a reason to discard their services, but it is worth bearing in mind that certain practices do not have the endorsement of science.
Alternative therapies can be more or less useful depending on each case, since the usefulness or not is determined by the patient through his own subjectivity, but a good psychologist will not pass one of these practices through ways of intervening with empirically proven efficacy .
Before choosing a psychologist, you should bear in mind that the form of psychological treatment that has the greatest scientific endorsement is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, although there are treatments that have been shown to be effective in addressing specific disorders. That is why the best thing you can do is ask for information on the degree of scientifically proven efficacy of the treatments offered and, from that point, decide in one direction or the other.
4. Make sure confidentiality is guaranteed
It never hurts to remember that during sessions the confidentiality of everything you say or do must be guaranteed. As a general rule, your personal data may not be disclosed by any professional psychologist or by any company constituted by psychologists. If this confidentiality is violated in any way, that fact may be cause for complaint.
5. You must sign an informed consent document
Before starting therapy, you should be given a dossier with information about the services available and, specifically, the type of therapy you choose. Attached to this type of dossier must be the informed consent document, in which you sign as you are aware of what will be done during the sessions.
6. Do you offer evaluation and diagnosis?
At the beginning of the visits, a psychologist must explore the patient’s problem through an evaluation stage that should not go beyond the first 4 or 5 sessions. This will allow you to establish a diagnosis about your problems, and this diagnosis should be explained to you in plain words, so that you understand it.
If you notice that the person giving you therapy lengthens the evaluation phase indefinitely, mixes this phase with the treatment phase, or you notice that their explanation of the diagnosis is deliberately confusing and esoteric, consider interrupting the sessions.
7. Is your intervention proposal clear?
Choosing a good psychologist is also opting for a professional who knows how to communicate well with his patients and does not reserve information about his plan to intervene through therapy. That is why he should be able to clearly explain to you the number of sessions planned and what will happen during those sessions.
In the same way, it must also be able to offer clear answers to all the doubts about the therapy that may arise.
8. The psychologist should not judge you
Psychology professionals should never judge their patients, as their role is aimed at offering solutions and directing efforts toward clear goals. They are not concerned with being guardians of morality. It is mandatory that a psychologist knows how to promote good rapport, that is, an environment of trust that allows you to express yourself without ties.
In part, this is the reason that enables patients to behave honestly during sessions.
9. How does the therapeutic relationship go?
Clinical psychologists work to help find solutions, not to befriend their patients or become romantically involved with them. Establishing personal relationships with patients goes against the deontological code of psychologists.
If you notice that the person offering you treatment behaves like a friend or makes you know that he or she seeks the continuity of your relationship during the hours when they are not treating you as a professional, you should leave therapy immediately.
10. Do you find it useful to go to your consultation?
Ultimately, you should be the person who evaluates the usefulness of going to the psychologist. Thus, psychologists cannot pressure you to continue treatment, nor should they tell you that you don’t realize how helpful your services are being.
The progress you may be making is useless if in the final stages of therapy you are not the person who notices it.
With these keys in mind, you should already be able to make a well-informed decision when choosing a good psychologist. Keep in mind, however, that the list you have just read could be endless and that there are infinite questions to consider when choosing one professional or another, so it is worth it for you to judge what you are looking for and in what they can offer it to you.
If you have any questions about the role of the psychologist and the therapist-patient relationship, you just have to leave your question in the comments (below the post) and we will answer you with pleasure.