Psychology is an investment in your mental health. And like with any investment, it’s good to know where your money is going and who it is you’re trusting it with.
Research suggests that a strong relationship between a client and psychologist (known as the therapeutic alliance) is still one of the most important factors in determining the success of therapy. As such it important to spend a little bit of time thinking about the person you are going to see rather than just seeing the first person that come up on your google search or is listed down by your GP.
Here are list of things to consider when evaluating Psychologists and find the right psychologist for you.
1. Qualifications and Experience
Is the person a registered Psychologist/Clinical Psychologist? This can be checked on the AHPRA website if you are concerned. Psychologists have completed a minimum of 4 years of University and 2 years of supervised practice before they can call themselves a Psychologist in Australia. For Clinical Psychologists it is 6 years.
What experience does the psychologist have in my area of need? There are many different areas of mental health that a Psychologist may develop skills and expertise in. Some Psychologists like to work with trauma, others like to work with sexual disorders, some like working with children, many do not. Take the time to find out if the person that you are thinking of seeing has expertise with the problem you are seeking help with.
2. Types of Treatment and Theoretical Orientation
Psychologists depending on their training and interests may take various different treatment approaches to the same problem. For example, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Psychoanalysis and Hypnosis may all be used to treat depression but are all very different treatment approaches. It may help to find out what type of treatment the psychologist uses and whether this approach is comfortable with you.
What is most important is that the Psychologist is using an evidence-based treatment. What this means is that the treatment they are using has been researched and shown to be effective at treating that particular problem. This way you can be sure that your treatment will be helpful to you.
3. Demographic factors
It is perfectly acceptable to consider the demographic factors of the psychologist you are selecting. Demographic factors may include things like Gender, Age, Sexuality, Cultural Background and religion. You may want to see a Psychologist who has children or is a member of a particular minority group.
Whilst the Psychologist will provide the same care irrespective of these factors, you may feel more comfortable with a certain type of person. Just as you can never be friends with every person you ever meet you are unlikely to be a good match with every psychologist you may see.
Take time to read the biographical information provided by the Psychologist on their website. Look at their photograph and imagine yourself speaking to them. Do they seem like they may be a good match for you? Do their values and personality shine through?
4. Make contact
If you are feeling uncertain about whether the Psychologist will be a good match for you or whether they will be ‘good’ make contact with them. It is perfectly acceptable to ask to speak with the Psychologist prior to your first meeting and see how you feel from that conversation. In fact, we would encourage this to occur.
5. Make an assessment after the first appointment
In some ways seeing a Psychologist can be a little bit like dating. The first meeting can be a little nerve racking and awkward. But ultimately what you need to assess in that first appointment is whether that person is going to be a good match for you.
You are unlikely to get any major resolutions the first appointment. But the Psychologist should be able to offer ideas on the cause of the problem and a treatment plan that outlines what needs to be done to provide you with the outcome you are looking for. Based on this you should assess whether it has been a good match and whether you should come back for a second appointment (i.e. the second date) or keep looking for the right match.
A good psychologist will always offer you the opportunity to determine if they are the right match for you and assist you to find someone else if not.
If you would like to know more about the Psychologists at Prosper Health Collective please do not hesitate to give us a call on 6381 0071 or take a look at our team page.