Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.”
It has always been important to care for our mental health. But, the impact of the pandemic has brought this issue to the forefront for many of us. Sometimes we just need more help. Perhaps you are at a point where you recognize this and would like to explore how you can support your mental health in a more formal way? Taking the step to reach out is extremely brave, but it can also be incredibly overwhelming, and even scary. This post includes some information that will hopefully guide you as you consider your next steps.
The mental health world can be very confusing! Knowing some common terms and how to navigate things will help you feel more at ease and empowered as you consider options.
There are several different types of providers:
You may be asking, “So how do I know what kind of provider I need?” There isn’t any one “right” answer. The best thing to do is to start with the issue you want to address and go from there. There are several ways to research providers that can help. One of the best is word of mouth. Ask around and see who is recommended! You can also consult your primary care provider, school counselor, or pastor. There are several different websites that you can search by clinical issue. Two of these are www.psychologytoday.com and www.goodtherapy.org. Different considerations such as age and experience level of the provider, gender, location, insurance networks, and therapeutic approach are important.
Look at profiles, check websites, and narrow it down to a few choices that appeal to you. Most providers offer a brief consultation at no cost so you can try to determine if they would be a good fit for what you are seeking. Ask questions that matter to you during this time. If you are seeking a provider who offers Christian counseling, or who can integrate your faith into the work that you are doing, this is a great time to explore what this would look like.
At its heart, counseling is about creating a safe, trusted relationship between you (or your child) and your counselor, so the single biggest predictor of whether a therapeutic experience is going to be successful or not is the quality of the relationship between therapist and client. At the end of the day, finding the right provider for your needs may take more than one try. While this can be frustrating, don’t give up on the process! Your health and well being are too important.
Laura Dempsey is a licensed social worker and therapist with nearly 20 years of experience counseling children and families.