How To Find A Good Therapist: A Quick Overview

How To Know If You Need Therapy

Life is full of challenges. Sometimes these challenging situations are just a part of life. However, there are also times where the things we struggle with may appear normal when they’re not. The problem could be thoughts, feelings, or actions we’re accustomed to dealing with on our own. The problem could be also stem from a person or people who are influential in our lives. However, if left unchecked, unhealthy thoughts and actions can nest into the very fabric of our being and manifest itself in unexpected ways. This how traumatic experiences sneak into the lives of people who are otherwise unaware that they’re in need of assistance.

So, if you need therapy and you know it, clap your hands. Many people have difficulty admitting to themselves that they need a therapist in the first place. Some know, and still don’t go.

Whether you or someone you know needs therapy, here are some telltale signs that it may be time to seek help:

  • If you begin to lose interest in things that you normally enjoy,
  • Are struggling to sleep,
  • Your appetite is different; whether increased or decreased,
  • You’re struggling to engage in daily activities,
  • Are experiencing changes in your health, mood or behavior.

Unhealthy situations have a way of being just influential enough to impact several aspects of our lives, while eliciting just enough shame to keep us quiet. Do not suffer in silence! If you are struggling with something, even if it seems trivial, seek the informed input of an impartial third party who can give you an educated opinion.

Find a Counselor in Your Area

HCH Therapy and Counseling currently operates in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and we help connect people in our community with the right kind of mental health professional that they need. Our network of professionals cover substance abuse issues, domestic violence, anger management issues, problems with anxiety, acute depression, intimacy and relationships, difficulties handling life transitions, sexual abuse, sexual addiction, spiritual identity, family counseling, couples counseling, premarital and marital counseling, and women’s therapy and assessment counseling.

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What Kind of Therapy Do I Need?

Counseling and therapy are often considered to be one in the same, and the terms are typically used interchangeably. However, there is a key difference between the two. Counseling is often a short-term approach to a psychological issue, whereas psychotherapy assesses the client’s cognitive process to a greater degree in order to address a range of psychological issues. Thus, the goal of counseling is usually to confront and deal with a specific psychological issue that has a clear endpoint.

Psychotherapy on the other hand takes a more exploratory approach, educating the client about themselves and others. This is particularly helpful when the goal is to better equip the client to deal troublesome patterns of thoughts and behaviors, or how to navigate their way around challenging relationships. In the case of mental illness, psychotherapy can also be used to guide the client to an understanding of how to manage their illness in a way that allows for a degree of normalcy in their daily life.

It is not unusual however to have more than one mental health professional assist you with your particular condition. For instance, you may need to periodically visit a psychiatrist or a primary care physician to prescribe medication for your condition, while meeting with a psychotherapist weekly to actively address daily challenges and issues. Depending on the specific issue, there are numerous approaches to psychotherapy that may best suited for the need. The American Psychological Association has segmented these approaches into five broad categories.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Also known as psychoanalytic psychotherapy, psychodynamic therapy is the oldest of the modern therapies. The focal point of the associated research and therapy lies with the unconscious in mind. This approach seeks to engage the unconscious issues and conflicts that may exist within a person’s life. This includes the analysis of dreams, and the methodology is insight-oriented. The therapist’s role in this case would be helping the person acknowledge those issues on a conscious level, and then venture to understand the subconscious implications.

Behavioral Psychotherapy

Also known as behavior therapy, this is an approach of therapy that focuses on learning and behavior in an effort to change unhealthy behavioral patterns, especially mental health disorders. The focal point of the associated research and therapy lies with the idea that behaviors are learned, and thus malleable. Therapists who practice this form of therapy attempt to effect behavior modification by way of reward, punishment, and manipulating known behavior triggers.

Cognitive Therapy

As the name implies, this form of therapy is focused on a person’s thoughts. It is a form of psychotherapy that is directed at issues that are presently occurring in real time. The focal point is centered around the belief that dysfunctional thinking inevitably leads to the related emotions or behaviors. Thus, the goal of the therapist is to assist the client in identifying unhealthy thinking patterns, and change erroneous beliefs.

Humanistic Therapy

Sometimes referred to as Humanistic Psychology, humanism is rooted in the idea that people are innately good, that they are capable of making rational choices, and that they can develop their maximum potential (self-actualization). This client-centered approach regards morality and self-actualization as natural processes, placing the locus of control on the client for self determination. According to this approach, adverse psycho-social experiences can be sourced to deviations from natural human behaviors.

Integrative Psychotherapy

This therapeutic approach combines different methods of intervention based on the client’s individual needs. This progressive form of therapy requires that a therapist be familiar with various schools of thought as it pertains to psychotherapy as a whole, in order execute an integrative approach that addresses the particular needs of the given client. Essentially, an integrative therapist can combine different elements to account for development gaps in different ways for every individual client. Theoretically, this flexible and inclusive approach, could be superior to singular forms of psychotherapy if executed properly.

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Finding the Right Therapist

Like most good relationships, communication is key. Regardless of the type of mental health professional you choose to visit or are referred to, you should start off by calling their office. Your initial interaction should be a strong one. Mental healthcare is a sensitive issue, so rapport building shouldn’t be a difficult task. If it feels difficult, consider looking elsewhere.

You should also investigate the professional’s background in dealing with your particular need. Their approach to dealing with mental issues, community outreach, educational pursuits, and how they typically work with clients are all clues to the type of experience you can expect. Be clear on the accepted insurance, how payments are dealt with, and what systems are in place for paperwork if you need to be reimbursed for expenses.

What to Expect From Therapy

Assuming the professional makes a good impression over the phone, it is still likely there is going to be an acclimation period during your first few visits. The mental health professional will want to get a sense of your history and what motivated you to seek therapy. Be prepared to fully disclose all the details regarding your mental state and motivations, as this information with be important in developing your treatment plan. Try to be as forthcoming as possible. As skilled as your provider may turn out to be, they cannot read your mind.

If you find a communication match who is clearly knowledgeable, then chances are you’ve found the right therapist. For a preview into my approach and style of counseling, please watch my introduction to therapy video.

How to Find a Therapist Near Me

There are various types of mental health providers, so research is important; but sometimes, there is some overlap between different types of services. If you want an easy way to pick the right professional, give us a call. The consultation is free; you can call us direct, chat with a specialist, or drop us a line and we’ll respond within 24 hours. If we can’t offer you the best service, we’ll direct you to someone who can. We put customer service first, so you’re satisfied no matter where you go.

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Get in Touch Now!

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