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Your Perfect Fit

Are you looking for a mental health professional?

In my opinion, finding a good or effective mental health professional who suits you is quite similar to finding a life partner.

Does that sound strange? Wait, let me explain….

On the one hand, sometimes, you may feel that the first mental health professional (MHP) you go to is perfect for you, and you go ahead to form an excellent professional relationship. However, on the other hand, you may have to change your mental health professional or professionals a few times before you find the right ones that suit you. So, it depends on your luck and who you meet first, similar to dating or finding a life partner. It could be an MHP that’s good and effective and works for you or someone who might not suit you.

If you are looking for a good mental health professional, this blog is for you. Here, I am going to tell you how to find MHPs and, once you find them, what signs to look for that can tell you whether a particular MHP will be effective for you or not. 

Before reading any further, let me clarify that when I speak about mental health professionals, I am referring to clinical psychologists, counseling psychologists, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists. As everyone faces unique mental health issues or problems in life, each individual requires help from either only one type of MHP or even a combination of MHPs working together to help the same individual. 

Example: Mr. M only requires therapy, so he goes to a professional psychotherapist. At the same time, Mr. S is facing different issues that require medication as well. Therefore, Mr. S goes to a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist to work through his issues. 

How to find mental health professionals?

Suppose you know anyone in your family, friends circle, co-workers, or acquaintances seeking help from mental health professionals. In that case, you can reach out to them and ask them if they have any contacts of excellent and efficient mental health professionals. You can also check if your educational institute (school, college, or university if you are a student or professor) or workplace (company) has an onboard counselor or therapist to help you.

You can choose to go to the same MHP to whom your known contact goes, or you can choose a different MHP. Also, kindly remember that if going to one particular MHP did not work out for your known contact, it does not mean it will not work out for you. You can still try going to that MHP because, as mentioned earlier, any MHP’s expertise, approach, and techniques may suit your needs better than another MHP. 

  • Suppose you do not know anyone in your social circle or vicinity seeking help from a MHP. In that case, you can always check online on social media or the internet for good MHPs in your area if you choose offline (face-to-face therapy). You can also find contacts of MHPs who offer online counseling and treatment.

  • Before contacting an MHP and confirming a session appointment, it is always a good practice to find out more about your MHP from their website, social media handles, and Google reviews. 

  • It is also helpful if you are aware of your potential mental health professional’s qualifications and experience. Ideally, at least in India, the following qualifications and roles are expected:

  • It is expected that a counselor or therapist should have a Master's degree in Psychology if they are counseling psychologists. They provide therapy. 

  • If they are clinical psychologists, they require an RCI (Rehabilitation Council of India) registration. They help diagnose clinical disorders and can also provide therapy.

  • If they are psychiatrists, they require a medical degree before a degree in psychiatry. Only a psychiatrist (who has a medical degree) can prescribe medications that are needed to treat mental health issues. A psychiatrist does not provide therapy.

Similarly, a clinical or counseling psychologist cannot prescribe medications to treat mental health issues. They are only responsible for diagnosing and providing therapy. 

Like doctors of different specializations, every mental health professional's consultation and treatment charges vary depending on their qualifications, expertise, and experience. Therefore, you will always find a variety of mental health professionals with different charges for their services. 

What can you expect from a good psychologist during therapy sessions?

While each person may have different expectations from their psychologist, all psychologists may have different approaches to working, too. However, to work well with their clients and patients, a good psychologist is generally expected to have the following characteristics.

A good or influential psychologists will:

  • make you feel comfortable and is trustworthy

  • inspire feelings of confidence and credibility

  • give you space to vent and share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

  • be a good communicator

  • not judge you or your choices and experiences

  • not force you to believe in or do something that you do not want

  • be respectful of you and your experiences and needs

  • be empathetic and genuinely concerned about you

  • maintain client-counselor confidentiality and clearly explain the exceptional conditions to client-counselor confidentiality as well

  • have expertise in specific areas of counseling and therapy

  • be culturally competent

What to expect from a good or effective psychiatrist?

The sections on what to expect from a psychologist and a psychiatrist differ because their roles and expertise differ. As mentioned above, a psychiatrist is only responsible for prescribing medications for mental health issues and is not responsible for providing therapy. Therefore, generally, when you visit a psychiatrist, you can expect the following:

  • Generally, an intern or a psychologist who works with the psychiatrist or the psychiatrists themselves will ask you specific questions for a detailed case history

  • Based on your case history and symptoms, the psychiatrist will prescribe medications accordingly (keeping in mind your medical history and allergy to certain substances if you have any)

  • In case any of the prescribed medications have known side effects, then the psychiatrist should inform you about the same before you start taking the medication. As a patient or client, you have the right to speak to your psychiatrist about your symptoms and the prescribed medications.

If a particular medication or drug is known to have specific side effects, you don't need to experience all of those side effects. Sometimes, when a medication is known to have some side effects, it may work well for you, but you may not experience the side effects.

Suppose you find the characteristics mentioned above in your mental health professional. Be it a psychologist, psychotherapist, or psychiatrist; they can be effective in helping you manage and overcome the mental health issues that you are facing. Please remember that each mental health professional may have a different approach and techniques for working. While one therapist’s approach and techniques might not work for you, another therapist’s approach and techniques may suit you better. 

If you are looking for reliable and credible mental health professionals, contact us at DhairyaDa. We are always here for you!

-Nishita Vaswani

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