Finding a Licensed Therapist
If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health disorder, you are not alone. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that yearly, one in five U.S. adults and one in six U.S. youths between the ages of six and seventeen experience mental illness.1
Finding a therapist to work with can help relieve the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns is integral to emotional wellness, but many people don’t know how to find a therapist. Symptoms of mental health concerns aren’t always obvious, especially to the person who is experiencing them. Feeling anxious all the time or regularly having relationship difficulties seems “normal” when that is your lifelong experience. Deciding if you need to find a therapist and what type of therapy might be most effective is easier once you consider the following questions.
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How Does Therapy Work?
A therapy session typically consists of a patient meeting with a therapist one-on-one to discuss any emotional difficulties that are preventing them from living a fulfilling life. In the case of couples, family, or group therapy, more than one person will be involved, so it’s important to find a mental health therapist for all parties. The patient and therapist work together to understand the individual’s wellness goals and potential ways to reach them.
Why Is Therapy Important?
Therapy may include specific techniques, homework, and challenges to help you look at or reframe certain thoughts or feelings. People often feel they need to find a therapist because they are “stuck” in the same cycles or emotions. A mental health counselor can offer suggestions to help their patients move forward.
What Is the Difference Between a Psychologist and a Therapist?
You will encounter several terms when you try to find a therapist. The level of training is the main distinction between a psychologist and a therapist. A psychologist holds a doctorate degree, and a therapist has a master’s degree. Both providers must be fully licensed to practice in their state in order to see patients. Neither a psychologist nor a mental therapist is authorized to prescribe medication.
Different Approaches to Therapy
Talk therapy is what most people think of when they think about finding a therapist. This type of individual counseling can be very effective for many people, but therapy isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience. Some of the other types of therapy you might encounter will be detailed below.
The American Counseling Association describes professional counseling as a collaborative effort that promotes behavioral changes and supports optimal mental health. The process may include individual counseling, group, family, or couples counseling.2
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a short-term therapeutic approach. It is based on the idea that negative thoughts and behaviors are learned patterns that can be unlearned. It emphasizes personal accountability and action strategies.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
IPT is a type of psychotherapy that helps people develop healthy, long-lasting relationships. IPT techniques may be used during marriage and family therapy to help repair and strengthen both romantic and familial relationships. It is also effective for helping people with a variety of mental health disorders learn how to maintain satisfying relationships.
Group therapy sessions include a number of patients and are led by a qualified mental health therapist. Peer support can be especially helpful for mental health disorders like substance use disorders. It is also a more affordable approach to therapy, as the costs are shared by many people.
Different Types of Therapy Professionals
When it’s time to find a therapist, there are many mental health professionals who can help you reach your wellness goals. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the job titles of health care professionals vary by state. Be certain you understand all state-specific qualifications that apply to your area.3
Some of the most common terms are discussed below.
These are licensed medical doctors who also have psychiatric training. They are qualified to diagnose mental health disorders, prescribe medications, and provide therapy.
Psychologists have a doctoral degree in clinical psychology or another related specialty. They are qualified to evaluate a person’s mental health, make diagnoses, and provide therapy services.
Marriage and Family Therapists
These are counselors who hold a master’s degree and are qualified to evaluate mental health as well as offer therapeutic care. Family counselors fall under the category of marriage and family therapists. They are qualified to evaluate mental health and provide therapy services.
Licensed Professional Counselors
This type of counselor holds a master’s-level in health care. They have the necessary training to evaluate an individual’s mental health and provide therapy. A number of job titles fall under this category, including counselor, therapist, and clinician.
Clinical Social Workers
Clinical social workers require a master’s degree in social work. They may evaluate an individual’s mental health and apply therapeutic techniques they have been specifically trained for. They might also be trained in other advocacy services as well as case management.
How to Find the Right Therapist for Me?
When you’re looking for mental health providers, it’s important to remember you do not have to stay with the first therapist you find. It is absolutely acceptable to “shop” when choosing the right therapist. Tips for finding the right therapist include:
Questions and Considerations for Therapists
Prepare a few questions to ask your therapist during the first session. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America suggests asking the following questions when choosing a therapist:4
Find a Therapist at Genesis Recovery
You might still be wondering “how to find a therapist near me?” You or your loved one can call Genesis Recovery for additional support. We offer comprehensive mental health services, including dual-diagnosis treatment, trauma therapy, group counseling, family counseling, and more.
Genesis Recovery makes it easy to find a good therapist who cares about you. Reach out today, and we will help you schedule your first appointment.