Finding the right therapist for you can be difficult and often times overwhelming. If you’ve been searching for a therapist, then chances are you’ve made the decision to seek out treatment to begin improving your mental health. Congratulations on making your first steps into the world of therapy! After making the big important decision to start therapy and get treatment, people find themselves in a precarious situation as they begin grappling with where to find a therapist in their area. For many people, they have no idea where to look, who to ask, or what to search for. If that's you, don’t fret, because I’m going to give you the tools to find the right therapist for you!
One of the most confusing aspects when searching for a therapist is the different types of therapists offering counseling services. People often have no idea what the difference is between a psychologist, psychiatrist, and a therapist, and will often make the mistake of looking for a psychiatrist only to find that most psychiatrists only diagnose and prescribe medication, and do not provide therapy services. Understanding the differences between the mental health professions is essential in finding the right therapist.
Psychologists holds a Ph.D. or Psy.D. and specializes in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. Psychologists cannot prescribe medication, and are often confused for psychiatrists. While psychologists have their doctorates, they are not medical doctors. Psychologists are trained in providing evaluations and testing. You are looking for a psychologist if you need a psychological evaluation or some testing done.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health issues through medication and either have a M.D. or D.O. Psychiatrists are often confused for psychologists or therapists. Psychiatrists do not provide psychotherapy. You are looking for a psychiatrist if you are looking to be put on medication for a mental health disorder.
Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) hold a master degree in clinical mental health counseling and are considered experts in the field of mental health. LMHCs are able to expertly diagnose and treat mental illnesses by considering social development and psychological factors. You are looking for an LMHC if you have an emotional or mental health disorder i.e. anxiety, OCD, eating disorder, body image issues, or depression.
Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) hold a masters degree in clinical social work. Being trained in social work LCSWs provide help with mental health, finances, educational issues or other areas needing case management. You are looking for a LCSW if you need help relating to stressors such as how to balance work life and finances.
Licensed Marriage and Family Counselors (LMFT) hold a masters degree in marriage and family counseling and specialize in interpersonal relationships such as couples and family issues. You are looking for an LMFT if you have relationship or family problems you want help with.
Many people have trouble knowing what to search for when looking for a therapist online. When searching, it's important to get specific with what you're looking for. For instance, say you’re struggling with an eating disorder. Searching for “therapist near me” will not necessarily get you closer to finding the best therapist for you. For issues such as eating disorders, anxiety, OCD, or PTSD, it’s important to find a therapist that specializes in your disorder. Therapist with specialties have the training necessary to help you with your specific issues. When searching through Google, adding specific keywords such as “eating disorder therapist near me,” “anxiety therapist near me,” or more specific keywords like “panic attack therapy” “binge eating therapy” will produce better results in finding the right therapist.
Once you’ve found a few potential therapists, make sure they have information on their website that makes you believe they would be a good fit for you. Most therapists offer free 15-20 minute phone consultations, which gives you the chance to ask any questions you have about their education, background, specialties, and treatment approaches. Take advantage of this! Remember, the goal in finding the right therapist is to find someone you can connect to, can provide you with the tools you need, and someone who is an expert in what you’re seeking counseling for.
If you’re interested in receiving therapy with me, feel free to call me at 561-536-3980 for a free 20 minute phone consultation. During our consultation, you can get to know me a little better and I can get an idea of what is going on for you, so we can decide together if we would be a good fit for one another.