Maybe it’s because you feel like you’ve lost control over your life. Or that you feel the blues take hold of you, even though you have everything it takes to be happy. You may indeed need to call a psychologist. But how do you choose the right one?
Here are some tips for finding the best psychologist for you.
What is the goal of a psychologist?
There are as many reasons to see a psychologist as there are individuals. But the goal of therapy, regardless of the reason for the consultation, is to help you learn to cope with your suffering on your own. In particular, you might want to consult because you can no longer communicate with your spouse, because you have a phobia, because you are going through bereavement or because you are having difficulties at work, etc.
If you do decide to consult, however, there is one important thing you should know. No psychologist can guarantee you a result or the duration of your therapy. These two things are largely related to your commitment, your motivation, and the nature of your disorder.
How to choose a psychologist?
First, you need to make sure that the psychologist you are about to consult is competent and has the necessary theoretical and practical background to help you. If, during the first sessions, you do not feel that you are progressing thanks to its help, consider changing. Just because he listens well is not enough for a therapist. Your friends may be sympathetic, but your psychologist needs to help you move forward.
Before choosing your psychologist, visit the website of the Ordre des psychologues du Québec: you will find information on all the members. They are listed according to their age, the year they obtained their diploma, their region, and the issues they deal with. This will help you select the psychologists who seem best suited for you.
Before planning your first meeting, talk to the chosen professionals, briefly explain your problem to them and find out how they work. Then choose the psychologist with whom you feel most comfortable. If, despite all these precautions, you experience discomfort during your meetings, show it.
Questions to ask during your first contact with your psychologist
- What are the fees for each session?
- How long is each meeting?
- How often should I consult?
- Are the meetings confidential?
- Will I have access to my file?
- Is there a cancellation policy for appointments?
- Are official receipts issued?
Choose a psychologist: male or female?
Whether your psychologist is male or female obviously has no impact on the success of therapy. The important thing is to have a good bond of trust. However, you may feel more comfortable with a therapist of the same sex. In this case, listen to yourself.
What will influence your choice
- The problem that causes you to consult;
- The personality and experience of the psychologist;
- The therapeutic approach.
Only you know which psychologist is right for you, but it’s important to choose an approach that catches your interest. It also happens that some approaches are more suited to a problem than others. It should still be remembered that the most important thing is to be comfortable with your psychologist, to feel him warm, empathetic, and welcoming. These are the criteria that will allow you to open up and ensure the best chances of success.
Cognitive / behavioral approach
This approach considers your psychological difficulties to be related to inappropriate thoughts or behaviors that you have learned in your daily environment. The best way to get rid of them is to learn new, more constructive attitudes. If you are experiencing phobias or anxiety disorders, this approach may be for you. During this kind of therapy, your psychologist will help you become aware of your thoughts and beliefs and replace them with more realistic judgments.
Existential / humanistic approach
This approach is based on your ability to direct your existence and achieve yourself. It focuses on the present moment, but also on your ability to become aware of your current difficulties. Your psychologist analyzes your ability to understand your difficulties and encourages you to change your way of being or of acting accordingly. It will help you get to know yourself and experience new behaviors. You will be on the same footing as your psychologist.
Psychodynamic / analytical approach
This approach is strongly influenced by psychoanalysis and appeals to the notion of the unconscious. It makes a connection between the current difficulties and the repressed and unresolved conflicts of your personal history. You must be very sensitive to the feelings that are inside you. This approach is appropriate, for example, for women who feel diminished by their spouse. Your psychologist will help you become aware of the influence of these repressed conflicts on your current behavior in order to facilitate your understanding and help you to evacuate them.
Systemic / interactional approach
This approach considers that your personal problems are caused by the kind of interaction that exists between you and those around you (family, friends, colleagues, etc.). The goal of this psychotherapy is to change your problematic relationships. This approach is often used for family therapy or couples therapy. It often happens that your psychologist meets important members of your entourage. No matter what the need or what therapy is needed, there will always be a psychologist who can help you overcome what seems overwhelming at first. Good luck in the quest for your peace of mind!