What potential patients might be looking for when choosing a counsellor or therapist

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Taking the first steps to prioritise your mental health is huge. For many patients making their first steps on this journey, finding the right counsellor or therapist is crucial as this can greatly influence the effectiveness of the entire experience. As a mental health professional, it’s important that you understand what priorities your potential patient may have, so that they can find someone who they feel comfortable with – whilst you can feel confident that you are offering them the right kind of support.

In this article, we’ll explore the various types of services you can offer as a mental health professional, the different therapeutic approaches available and what patients bear in mind when choosing a therapist.

Types of mental health professional

Understanding the differences between mental health professionals and the services you can offer your patients can help them find the right fit. They will be looking for the right person to help them take control of their experiences, so it’s important that you, as an expert, are equipped to help them with the particular issues at hand.

Psychologist: A psychologist specialises in the science and medical aspects of behaviours, emotions and thoughts. You may treat a wide range of issues, such as mental illness and relationship problems.

Psychiatrist: A psychiatrist diagnoses, treats and helps prevent various mental, behavioural and emotional problems. To do this, you may use physical exams, lab tests and psychiatric medicine.

Psychotherapist: This is a general term for professionals who offer psychotherapy. This is a type of ‘talking therapy’ which is designed to improve mental health and wellbeing. 

Mental health counsellor: Another broad term used to describe someone who provides counselling. This branch of therapy also allows for more specialist counselling services which may be something you provide, such as grief or relationship counselling.

Types of therapy

Therapeutic approaches vary greatly, so it’s essential that your patient chooses one that aligns with their needs and preferences. There are several types of therapy which you may offer to your patients, which include:

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): This focuses on identifying problematic thoughts or unhelpful thought patterns and exploring ways to replace these patterns with positive and accurate thoughts.

Psychodynamic therapy: This long-term approach to mental health treatment explores the connection between the unconscious mind and the patient’s actions while examining past experiences.

Humanistic therapy: This approach looks at how your patient’s worldview influences the choices they make, particularly those choices which are causing distress. It will help them better understand how to live a more fulfilling life.

Research and qualifications

Patients will undoubtedly take the time to conduct thorough research before making their decision. Make sure your website or online portfolio is in good shape and has positive reviews from your previous clients, so that they can better understand your experience – they’ll feel more peace of mind going in if they know you have a good reputation.

Your qualifications should be clearly listed, and you should clearly signpost any additional certifications in specialised areas. You may also find it helpful to demonstrate that you have relevant counsellors’ insurance so that they can be confident that you take your obligations to them seriously.

Other personal factors

It’s so important that any patient feels comfortable with their therapist, so don’t discount elements that may help you to establish a connection with them – which could include age, gender and cultural background.

Feeling at ease when sharing your thoughts and feelings is imperative. You’ll be trying to build a strong relationship with your patient; if you are predisposed to understand certain aspects of their life, that can only be helpful.

The post What potential patients might be looking for when choosing a counsellor or therapist appeared first on Wellbeing Magazine.

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