Who is Your Therapist Anyway?

San Fran 2009 016

I was recently interviewed in this article that came out in the Colorado Springs Gazette this weekend.  The article is long, but worth reading because it tells a fascinating story of a man who isn’t necessarily who he says he is.  Take a look.

Regardless of what is really going on with the gentleman featured in the article, the article brings up an important point:

Know who your mental health care providers are.

As a psychologist, I sometimes forget that not everyone knows the difference between types of therapists (and there are many) and the importance of understanding who might best suit your needs.  Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Being a licensed provider is important.  Licensure is important because it means the state where the therapist resides regulates their practice of therapy.  Backgrounds, education and other information has been checked by the state; and in most cases a comprehensive examination has been passed.  Many states also require continuing education credits to maintain one’s license.  So, how do you check to see if your therapist is licensed? Just ask and they should happily give you an answer and also provide you with their license number. Easy!
  • Education is important…or is it?  There are many paths to become a therapist.  There are marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, professional counselors, school psychologists, clinical psychologist and psychiatrists.  Here’s the deal: while the differences are extremely important to me (I am a psychologist after all), they probably aren’t to you. As long as you have established that a therapist is licensed and has at least a master’s degree in something like psychology or counseling – they are probably worth checking out.
  • Trust your gut. Therapy is a funny thing: it requires you to reveal things about your life and emotions that you typically don’t.  Because of that, safety and security are hugely important.  So is goodness of fit; meaning you need to feel comfortable with your therapist.  So if something feels “off” or “weird” or not quite genuine, perhaps it is time to ask some questions to your therapist or find someone else.

Want more information about therapy, therapists and what it takes to become a psychologist? Check out these articles:

What is a Psychologist Anyway?

What a Psychologist Really Thinks About You

Psychotherapy Is Not Dead

 

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