Ok, I Want to See a Psychologist, Now What?

People often feel a variety of emotions when they decide they want to seek treatment from a psychologist. Fear, anxiety, relief, panic are all words I hear folks in my practice say when talking about first seeking treatment. The other thing I hear a lot is that people don’t know where to go once they have made the decision. Most folks don’t feel comfortable asking their neighbor for a referral as they might for a pediatrician or dentist, so where do they turn? Here are some questions you can ask yourself before you begin, to help the search process go more smoothly:

  •  Do I want to do therapy alone? With my partner/spouse? With my kids?
  • Do I want to use my health insurance or employee assistance program? If I decide to pay for services out of pocket, how much can I afford? 
  • What are the top 1 or 2 things I want to address in therapy (for example: phobia of spiders, job stress, anger management, parenting strategies for divorced parents).
  • How far am I willing to drive for services?
  • What times/days would work in my schedule?

Once you have figured out the answers to these questions, you will be able to search more specifically for a psychologist who meets your needs and requirements. You can try looking in the phone book or newspaper, but many psychology practices now have an online presence, making searches even easier.

When you are ready to connect with a psychologist, check out the following places:

  • American Psychological Association: http://locator.apa.org/
  • Your state psychological association (for example, the Colorado Psychological Association)
  • The provider directory of your health insurance company or employee assistance program 
  • Ask your primary care physician, ob/gyn, or pediatrician. They may have a list of psychologists they trust.
  • The human resources department at work
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11 Responses to “Ok, I Want to See a Psychologist, Now What?”

  1. Dr Stephanie Smith   May 25, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Glad your friend has had such a positive experience with anger management treatment. I especially like the group/class format for treating anger management. It is always helpful to learn from peers as well as a professional.

  2. Vaughn Brdar   May 24, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    I really enjoy this blog. Maybe you could let me know how I can go about subscribing with it? By the way I stumbled upon this blog through Bing.

  3. Lexie Wilkinson   May 24, 2010 at 1:11 am

    my best friend has been in an Anger Management class for 2 months now, he improved a lot when dealing with anger.'”,

  4. ivy   March 15, 2010 at 11:17 am

    i want to see a phsychiatrist.
    im 16 years old and depressed.
    but, i dont have insurance after my step dad died, and we dont have very much money.

  5. Dr Stephanie Smith   December 4, 2009 at 11:43 am

    You are right, it is always a good idea to be an informed consumer and have an ongoing dialogue with your healthcare providers about what treatments they are using, why, what progress they are noticing, etc. Thanks for the comment!

  6. Ben Paul   November 24, 2009 at 10:15 am

    It would also be a good idea to check http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/eklonsky-/division12 , select a treatment that has been shown to be efficacious for your problem (if such a treatment has been identified), and then find a therapist who can provide that treatment. Otherwise, who knows if the therapist’s treatment might be effective.