Health Mental Health

How To Choose Mental Health Providers

Published at 03/28/2012 22:00:33


Mental health providers or therapists who treat mental illness are different from physicians who treat physical ailments. So it is natural that choosing your therapist from mental health providers is a totally different process than choosing from physicians. For treatment of a specific condition people look for a doctor who has excellent credentials and vast experience in the necessary field while the personality traits of the doctor like his style of communication generally play a secondary, if not unimportant, role.

However, mental health care mostly involves many hours of one-on-one communication with your therapist unlike most physician visits. This leads to an ongoing relationship over time in most cases. So while narrowing down from a list of mental health providers, you must do a frank assessment of the therapists personality and style of interaction and opt for the one whose style games with your own personality and needs. In addition you must evaluate the providers clinical competence and reputation.

Step 1

Decide your preference. See if you have a preference for one particular kind of training or educational background in therapy. Mental health providers can be psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, advanced practice nurses or clinical nurse specialists. They come from a number of different educational backgrounds and undergo different kinds of training. However, to obtain the license to legally prescribe medications they need certain educational backgrounds and licenses. So it is up to you to decide whether you want legally authorized mental health providers or not.

Step 2

Check for specialization. Mental health providers have different specialization. If you like to go for a therapist who specializes in one particular condition or type of problem then you have to look specifically for a therapist with relevant qualification and consider the kind of therapy he practices. Every therapist has different methods and programs for treating mental illness. Some programs offer person sessions while some go for group therapy or sessions with other family members.

Step 3

Mental health providers operate in shifts. So you should check in advance what hours your therapist will be available to see you and how frequently. See if the sessions fit into your schedule and expectations and if you can practically attend them.

Tips and comments

Some therapies are covered under some insurance policies. If you are insured, check whether your insurance provides coverage for mental ailments. If yes, check what kinds of therapies are covered by it. There is generally a list of mental health providers covered by your insurance. If you choose a therapist from approved list of providers you will save money on expensive sessions and be assured that you have consulted a trusted provider. However, if you are not insured or your choice of therapist is not in the approved list, make sure their payment plan suits your wallet.

Though mental health providers work in shifts, some of them make sure they are available for their clients in need of emergency. See how your therapist feels about being available for you during off hours or receiving your calls between scheduled sessions. Even if he is not available, he should have a backup covering for the practice.

Sources and Citations



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