Therapy, mental health: FSA Eligibility
What are the different types of therapists?
There are many reasons a person would need a therapist; there are different mental health issues that need to be addressed. Psychologists are those with doctoral degrees in psychology or human behavior, and are trained in counseling, psychotherapy, and testing to help uncover emotional problems. Psychiatrists on the other hand, are more like doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental or psychiatric illness. They have the medical background and legal licence to administer drugs to their patients and are also trained in psychotherapy (National Health Service).
Social Workers are specialists that enhance a person's psychological and social functioning by providing empathy and counseling in health-related settings. Licensed professional counselors have at least a master's degree in counseling and are certified to independently diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders by the state.
How do you search for the right therapist?
If you already work with a professional that you trust, like a lawyer, dentist, or physician, he or she might be able to provide you with some recommendations as they are typically connected within a community. Your family and friends or coworkers might have experience with a therapist in the past as well. Doing an internet search is of course still an option but be careful to select reliable sites.
Many places of employment also have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which is in place for providing emotional support and counseling for employees as part of the employee's benefit package. Schools, universities, and insurance companies are also great resources to tap into as they probably have counseling centers or customer service departments to help you with your search.
What should you do on the first visit?
Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions to make sure this is the right therapist for you. Ask logistical questions like how long has the therapist been in practice, how many similar patients have they had and what were the results of those therapy session, policies and fees, etc. Make sure the therapist is professional and credentialed, and keep in mind that even people with great credentials aren't necessarily great therapists for you. They must be an intuitive fit - assess for things like: is the therapist listening to me and asking a good amount of questions? Make sure to discuss the outcome you want from therapy and how to measure whether you have obtained that goal (Verywell Mind).