6 Tips For Choosing The Right Mental Health Professional

You can implement numerous practices on your own to enhance your mental health. Getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising regularly, and meditating are just a few of the many practices known to improve mental wellness. However, these alone aren’t always sufficient, and professional mental health assistance may be necessary.

When dealing with more severe mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, or other ailments of the brain and mind, you might find it hard to select the best care. Perhaps it feels overwhelming to have to make a choice on which expert to share your life and problems with. Besides, the options are overwhelming, and you may not know where to start.

That said, the decision to seek one-on-one assistance from a mental health expert is a huge step toward your recovery. But the next crucial step is finding the perfect one for you. You’re in luck because the top tips for choosing a mental health professional are listed below.

Determine Which Mental Health Provider You Need

Determining the right mental health provider is crucial in your mental health treatment and recovery journey. And when you first set out to look for a mental health professional, you’ll probably hear about counselors, primary care providers, psychiatrists, and more. Since all of them focus on a person’s mental health, you might be confused about who among them you should ask for help. Furthermore, some offer both medication and counseling, while others only offer counseling or medication.

So, a smart place to start is to learn who they are and whether or not they are the specialist you require.

Professional Counselors

Professional counselors hold master’s or doctoral degrees in counseling, school psychology, or clinical psychology. They offer a wide range of therapies, including psychotherapy. They’re among the specialists who can examine, diagnose, and treat mental health issues, but they cannot prescribe drugs.


Psychiatrists are doctors who specialize in the treatment of mental illnesses. All of them can write prescriptions and track medication. Many psychiatrists specialize in a particular area such as addiction, military psychiatry, and psychiatric treatment for children and the elderly.

Primary Care Providers

Primary care providers, such as pediatricians, family physicians, and general practitioners, can offer diagnosis and treatment for mental health disorders. However, not all of them provide counseling sessions to their patients. So, if you want a comprehensive mental health treatment plan, consider seeing a psychiatrist, counselor, or psychologist.

Clinical Social Workers

These experts have been trained and are concerned with societal problems. Social workers, like psychiatrists and psychologists, focus on certain mental disorders and behavioral issues, such as depression and addiction.

Clinical Psychologists

Clinical psychologists hold a doctorate in psychology. They can assess and track mental health conditions and provide therapy through counseling. They also administer psychological examinations and assessments. However, not all can give medication, depending on the state.  

Consult Your Primary Care Physician

There are many different types of mental health providers out there undertaking various clinical tasks. If you still find it hard to know where to begin looking for treatment, you can ask for expert advice. You can start by informing your primary care physician about your symptoms and, if appropriate, asking for their recommendation. If your doctor concludes that you require specialized treatment, you may be referred to the proper mental health professional.  

Request Recommendations From Family And Friends

Most of the time, recommendations from those close to you can be helpful. It’s best to seek counsel from someone who knows you and the mental health professional so they can determine whether the two of you are compatible. Using a friend’s or relative’s connections could help you find the right mental health professional fast.

However, your friend’s mental health provider might not be right for you. You may feel that their treatments are not a suitable fit for you. Or, in some cases, the expert already has too many patients. In this case, let them refer you to someone else. Since they work in the same field, they can refer you to someone who can better assist you with your dilemma.

Make A List Of The Qualities You Look For In A Mental Health Professional

You need to figure out what type of professional you would like to receive treatment from. Their skills are also significant to look out for. 

When meeting with a mental health professional, seek someone good at listening and observing, willing to ally with you, confident in communicating with you, trustworthy, knows how to build a healthy environment, and believes in people. Once you’ve determined which specialist you’re looking for, you can explore the options in your community.  

Ask The Expert A Lot Of Questions

Once you’ve identified a few mental health professionals that seem to be a good fit for you, give them a call and ask a few more queries. It would help if you inquired about their education and licensure, years of practice, consultation and treatment cost, treatment modalities, length of sessions, philosophy, and any other questions you have.

Their receptionist may be willing to respond to most of your queries in some cases. Also, some mental health practitioners may be fine with answering your questions over the phone, while others may require you to visit their facility for an initial consultation. 

Give Them A Try And See How Things Go

Once you’ve found someone you reckon can match your expectations and might be worth the try, go ahead and set up a visit. After three or four sessions, you’ll know whether or not they’re the right professional to help you with your problem. During the first and second sessions, they’ll try to understand and identify the problem. Then, days after that, they will begin to carry out their treatment plans for you. 

However, if you end up being uncomfortable with them, that’s alright and understandable. If this occurs, you should notify the specialist immediately that the treatment isn’t working for you. It’s best to find someone with whom you’re totally compatible. That way, your road to recovery will be less stressful.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re dealing with loss, trauma, marital difficulties, or need therapy for a mental health condition, finding the most suitable mental health professional can make a major difference in your healing. To find the most suitable provider, you may start by asking your primary care doctor. You may also want to consider their license, health coverage, location, and areas of expertise. Aside from that, you may discover that recommendations from your friends, coworkers, and healthcare experts are useful. 

Ultimately, choosing a therapist is a question of personal preference. For an effective treatment, you need to find someone you feel connected to. You can develop that connectedness by speaking with them in person, over the call, or virtually.

Medical Disclaimer: All the content available on the website is just for informational purposes. It’s not a substitute for any Professional advice. Don’t take it personally. As a medical student, I’m just trying to use my information through my content, and please keep in mind it’s not written by a professional doctor. Use the data just for educational purposes.

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