If things are a bit rough for you right now, you may be considering seeing a therapist. But the process of selecting a therapist is not as easy as it seems, as you would have to search through dozens of options, including different titles. How exactly do you pick the right one?
Titles and Acronyms
There are many Montreal psychologists and psychiatrists you can consult. But before you go through online directories, you first have to familiarize yourself with the acronyms and titles that you may come across in your search for a therapist.
These are mental health workers who may have different responsibilities and credentials, depending on their scope of work. A social worker can be someone with minimal training (such as a volunteer), but oftentimes, social workers possess a master’s degree in social work and are the first line of mental health support where counselors and psychologists are unavailable.
Counselors and therapists
These terms that are usually used interchangeably, and they describe an individual who possesses a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with a master’s degree in psychology, counseling or a related field.
These mental health professionals possess a doctorate degree and are licensed to practice in the jurisdiction they choose to operate in. Many psychologists have the acronym LCP (Licensed Clinical Psychologist) in their title, placed after their name in addition to a PsyD or a Ph.D. These professionals work in research, clinical and medical environments and they can officially diagnose illnesses.
These medical doctors also possess a doctorate degree but unlike psychologists, they have M.D.’s in their name and they also have the ability to prescribe medication. Psychologists may refer their patients to a psychiatrist if they deem that medication is necessary for their treatment.
Who Should I See?
The answer really depends on the kind of issues you’re dealing with. If you’re finding it difficult to deal with your day-to-day living or if a particular event has affected your life significantly, you may want to consider seeing a counselor or a licensed social worker. These professionals are qualified to listen to your issues and may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist after making an initial evaluation of your case.
But if you suspect that your issue is medical, such as if you think you have ADHD or are clinically depressed, then you may want to schedule an appointment with a psychologist instead of a counselor.
Choosing a mental health provider is similar to picking a doctor. In many of these cases, people decide based on recommendations from family and friends who have had positive experiences with their own therapist. But if you want to check if your health insurance will cover your treatment, here’s what you need to do:
- First, you need to review your insurance policy. Does it say mental health services are covered? If so, then you may want to call them up to check the names of mental health professionals that are part of their network.
- If your insurance policy does not cover mental health services, then look into counselors and social workers in community health centers and non-profit organizations that can help you resolve your issues without charging high fees for their services.
- Then make a short-list of names you have picked from your search and schedule an appointment with them. Don’t forget to inquire about the details like the therapist’s license and training, experience, and their own philosophies toward the mental illness you’re dealing with.
- Once you’ve spoken to each candidate, you can then weigh your options and decide. Go with your gut feel especially if all their information looks the same. Keep in mind that this person will help you live a happier and healthier life. Choose a therapist that you’re comfortable with.