Selecting a Psychologist
The decision to have therapy is a personal choice. Selecting a psychologist that is right for you is important. There are many types of therapists and you want to make sure that you pick one that has the qualifications and expertise that best serves your needs. When selecting a psychologist be sure to check out credentials, licensure, education, practice policies and procedures.
It is good practice to select at least two therapists to interview. Begin by calling them and talking with them on the phone. If the initial conversation goes well and you feel comfortable, then schedule an appointment and interview them. You can then ask them any questions you didn’t get to ask in the initial phone consultation. Although many psychologists offer free phone consultations, most do not offer office interviews for free, so expect to pay for it. I invite you to call me today for a complimentary phone consultation (424) 206-9055.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Choose a licensed psychologist. “Licensed psychologist” means that that we are licensed by the state or jurisdiction that we are practicing psychological services in. In my case, I am licensed by the state of California. Licensure laws are meant to protect the public in various ways by restricting licensure to only those individuals who are qualified to practice psychology as state law mandates.
In the state of California, renewal of license depends upon the demonstration of continued competence that necessitates continuing education. Additionally, the American Psychological Association (APA), which I am a member, requires a strict code of professional ethics that psychologists must follow. In order to be licensed psychologists must pass a rigorous national examination, as well they must pass a state examination specific to the state in which they will practice.
After completing undergraduate degrees, psychologists spend an average of seven to eight additional years in graduate education, training and research prior to receiving their doctoral degrees. As part of their professional training and licensure they are required to complete a minimum of 3000 hours in supervised clinical internships in a hospital or organized health setting. They must spend at least one of their training years in post-doctoral supervised experience before they can practice independently. Doctoral level experience and clinical internships are what distinguish psychologists from many other practicing mental health care providers.
Utilizes Evidence-Based Treatments
Psychologists help with a variety of psychological, behavioral, and health problems utilizing a range of evidence-based treatments to help improve people’s lives. I am continually researching and utilizing the latest and most effective psychological treatments for my practice and my clients.
Most often, psychologists use psychotherapy or “talk” therapy to help people with their problems. In addition, many psychologists utilize assessments, psychological tests and self-reports in helping people. Common types of therapy include cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, humanistic, existential or a combination of these. In some conditions a combination of therapy and medication is the best treatment. If this is the case, most psychologists can work with psychiatrists, primary care physicians or pediatricians for the best possible outcome. My background and training in health psychology has provided me with the knowledge needed to coordinate care with physicians.
A Psychologist Whom You Can Trust
In selecting a psychologist you are looking for someone you can trust with your life and wellbeing. This begins with a psychologist who believes in approaching her clients with respect and dignity. Secondly, you want to feel safe. You will be sharing personal and confidential information with your psychologist. You want to know your information is being protected and that you are being cared for.
A Psychologist Who Listens
One of the many important characteristics you want to seek in a psychologist is their ability to listen to you and value what you say. In order for your psychologist to help you, it is vital that you feel understood. This is paramount to the therapeutic process. I take pride in my ability to actively listen, to hear what my clients are saying, as well to hear what they are not saying.• • •