As the first blog for Skinner Group LLC, it is important to cover a topic that many people looking for psychotherapy face and that is finding the right therapist for you. It is important that we begin defining some of the common areas of practice that you may encounter when looking for a therapist.
Psychiatrist - A medical doctor who specializes in the use of medication to treat mental health disorders. Generally psychiatrists do not see patients for talk therapy and conduct appointments similar to that of your general practitioner.
Psychologist - A therapist who has the ability for traditional face to face therapy but is also able to conduct psychiatric testing for pre-employment as well as learning disorders.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist - A therapist who conducts traditional face to face therapy but generally does not conduct psychiatric testing (depending on the state).
License Clinical Social Worker - A person who may be bale to provide therapy based on the state of licensure but generally directs their attention to putting their client in touch with much needed resources such as housing.
Counselor - This term can be a difficult one to explain as states differ on what the term counselor means and some do not require any education or certification for someone to refer to themselves as a counselor. While drug treatment counselors and addiction counselors may have specific training, it is important for you as the client to ensure that the person offering these services is competent to do so.
Once you have found a therapist that you feel may be the right one, feel free to make an appointment to get to know them a bit. Many therapists offer this opportunity free of charge and usually consists of a phone conversation. Something that we know to be true as therapists but also as a result of research is that if you do not feel comfortable with your therapist, your chances of reaching your goals for therapy are greatly diminished. You wouldn't buy a car without taking it for a test drive so there is no need to feel pressured to jump right in to the therapeutic relationship with the hope that you will feel comfortable working with that person. If you decide after meeting with your new therapist for the first time that they are not the right fit for you, keep looking. After all, you are not only a client but a consumer and you should be happy with your choice.