7 Tips for Choosing a Psychologist

  • 8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Psychologist
    A Personal Decision
    It can be difficult to ask for help when you’ve been struggling with your feelings, relationships or behaviors. But the sooner you do, the sooner you can begin to feel better. One of your first steps toward overcoming your struggles is finding a psychologist to help. How do you find the best psychologist who is right for you? Here are some important factors to keep in mind.

  •  8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Psychologist
    1. Get Referrals
    Start by asking your primary care doctor for a referral list of psychologists. You can add to this list by asking family, friends, and other healthcare providers for recommendations. Take the time to research the psychologists’ credentials and experience on Healthgrades.com. Psychologists can subspecialize in 14 different areas, from child and adolescent psychology to neuropsychology. For individual counseling, search for a psychologist who works in private practice or in a clinical or medical setting. As you narrow down your list, call each psychologist’s office to make a consult appointment to meet and interview the psychologist.



  • 8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Psychologist
    2. Research the Psychologist’s Credentials
    Board certification from the American Board of Professional Psychology is one of the most important factors to consider when you are choosing a psychologist. It tells you that he or she has the needed training, skills and experience to provide psychological services. Providers may have additional certification in clinical psychology, child and adolescent psychologists, or cognitive and behavioral psychologist, among the many other focus areas of psychology. Also confirm that the psychologist has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. You can find the psychologist’s medical school, training hospital, certifications, and malpractice and disciplinary history on Healthgrades.com and your state's mental health website.



  •  8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Psychologist
    3. Consider the Psychologist’s Experience
    Experience matters when you’re facing mental health issues. The more experience a psychologist has with a condition or program, the better your results are likely to be. Ask how many patients with your specific condition the psychologist has treated. If you know you may need a specific form of therapy or program, ask the psychologist how many patients he or she has treated using the approach and how well they did.  



  •  8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Psychologist
    4. Consider Gender
    It’s important to feel comfortable with your psychologist’s gender because you will need to openly discuss personal information. When it comes to mental health, your own gender is also an important consideration. Psychologists are becoming more skilled in caring for women and men differently. Ask the psychologist about his or her recent training and experience specifically related to your condition and your gender.



  •  8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Psychologist
    5. Evaluate Communication Style
    Choose a psychologist with whom you are comfortable talking and who supports your information needs. When you first meet the psychologist, ask a question and notice how he or she responds. Does he or she welcome your questions and answer them in ways that you can understand? Find a psychologist who shows an interest in getting to know you, who will consider your treatment preferences, and who will respect your decision-making process.



  • 8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Psychologist
    6. Review Patient Satisfaction Surveys
    Reading what other people have to say about a psychologist can provide insight into how he or she practices psychology. Patient satisfaction surveys typically ask people about their experience with scheduling appointments, wait times, office environment, and office staff friendliness. You can learn about how well patients trust the psychologist, how much time he or she spends with their patients, and how well he or she answers questions.



  •  8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Psychologist
    7. Know What Your Insurance Covers
    To receive the most insurance benefits and pay the least out-of-pocket for your care, you may need to choose a psychologist who participates in your health insurance plan. Keep in mind that some psychologists do not participate or accept insurance. You should still consider credentials, expertise, and patient satisfaction as you select a psychologist from your plan, but be sure to ask how much each visit costs. If you want to see a psychologist who does not participate in your health plan, you will need to cover your own cost. 



7 Tips for Choosing a Psychologist
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.