Psychology

Tips for Finding a Good Psychologist



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The chances are that if a doctor believes that you are in need of psychological help, this will be a long term solution to deep rooted problems as a psychological evaluation and therapy take time. Of the many choices available, one of the best attributes that your general practitioner has is his knowledge of you as a human being, coupled with his knowledge of local psychologists and his experience of their successes.

Talking to your doctor is just the first step towards finding that psychologist suitable for you. His knowledge will be valuable and he will know from his own experience the type of person that you would be able to relate to. Having weeded out his suggestions, taking these a step further in order to find that psychologist that can help you is left to you.

Initial Consultation.

Many psychologists offer an initial consultation where they can assess what your problems are and the amount of work required to get through them. From your point of view, this is an ideal situation since it also gives you, as a patient, a golden opportunity to assess :

*Suitability
*Body Language
*Communication skills
*Professionalism and experience

Suitability.

Each individual has their own needs. If you have deep rooted problems that need to be ironed out with a psychologist, then one of the prerequisites that is required is their ability to let you talk, and the comfort level at which you can achieve this. The initial interview is a great time to look at the way in which they deal with their patient's problems and to assess if this works for you. Psychology is complex, and the chemistry between a psychologist and their patient is vital if the psychological advancement and understanding on the part of the patient is to be achieved.

Body Language.

Just as a psychologist will be measuring the way you present yourself, the initial consultation gives the patient an equal opportunity to look at what the psychologist is offering, and to evaluate their ability to:

*Listen
*Absorb
*Be interested
*Interact

All of these factors matter. Body language gives away a great deal about whether the psychologist is actually interested in you as a patient. Are they watching the time pass ? Are they seemingly bored ? Are they abrupt and make you feel uncomfortable ? Do they take notes and concentrate on these more than what you are saying ? Body language between any professional in the psychology field and their patients is paramount to success.

Communication skills.

Again, at the initial interview, did you get the impression that the psychologist is using text book response rather than the response gained through experience of psychological interaction with other patients over a period of time. In many cases, psychologists fail because of lack of experience and the ability to communicate effectively with the patient. Ask questions, and never be afraid to speak up because not only does this give them an assessment of your communication skills, but it also helps you, the patient, decide if their communication skills are sufficient to help you with psychological problems.

Professionalism and experience.

A professional psychologist will know how to respond to the obscurity of your questions. Perhaps you want to know how long treatment will be necessary, and vague answers are a bad sign. Of course psychological problems are deep rooted and take time, though the professional will tell you that it depends entirely upon you and your receptiveness to the psychology treatment you get. Any other answer is too vague and one would question the professionalism of those psychologists that have no idea at all about the length of treatment required. Even a guess at six months or a year spells out that at least they recognize that your problems are an accumulation of years of your life and will take time to rectify.

What their answers will show you is the level of their expertise in dealing with cases such as yours. If the question is avoided, how confident will you be with a psychologist that can't give straight answers to straight questions.

Remember always that the psychologist is there to help you. In a lifetime, those that are within your life also have a role to play. Compare the psychologist with people you know hold you back from communication or who get in the way of dealing with problems, and if you find a psychologist falls within the same category as those people who cause your own problems, then they won't be the right choice of psychologist.

By simple deduction and an initial consultation, you will get a better idea of who to turn to, and this will tell you much more than a telephone call ever will about whether that psychologist suits you. At the end of the day, the whole status of the psychologist patient relationship is based on trust and communication, professionalism and care, and if any of these elements are missing, then perhaps it would be better to try someone else.

When the right psychologist is found, those initial consultations will not have been wasted, and will prove valuable stepping stones within the search for that psychologist who indeed can help you to gain more from this one chance you have at life.

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More about this author: Rachelle de Bretagne

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