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