Tips for Finding a Counselor or Therapist
Psychological counselors and therapists
The terms counselor and therapist cover a variety of trained professionals. The differences between therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors may not be as important to you as finding someone with whom you are comfortable.
Professionals who might provide counseling services include:
- Social workers (MSW, ACSW).
- Psychologists (PhD).
- Licensed professional counselors (LPC) (MA, MEd, EdD).
- Psychiatrists (MD).
- Marriage and family therapists (MFT).
- Psychiatric nurses (BSN, MSN).
- Members of the clergy.
Some insurance plans do not cover all types of therapists. Check with your insurance company for details.
When calling to make an appointment
- If possible (or if you have questions), ask to speak with the therapist or counselor directly, not with a receptionist or assistant.
- Be clear about the problem for which you want help.
- Ask the therapist or counselor about his or her background with your problem (how many people he or she has worked with on this type of problem). Ask the therapist to explain his or her views about the problem.
- Ask how long the counseling might take, so that you can picture how it will fit into your life.
- Ask any other questions that would make you more comfortable with the idea of attending a session.
If you go to a therapist and don't like what happens, don't give up on the idea of counseling. Sometimes a different counselor will fit your personality better. Try again with someone new.
Current as of: January 31, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health