Mental Health is becoming less taboo which is a wonderful thing. Many times in conversation a friend will bring up the need or want to talk to someone. There are so many options. Do you go to a licensed social worker? Do you see a psychologist? Do you see a psychiatrist? What are the differences? How do I know what I need? Is it possible to have remote counseling because I have a busy schedule?
I am going to attempt to answer some of those questions in this post.
The main difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that a psychiatrist has gone to medical school. They can prescribe medication and help with medication management. Psychologists focus on different types of psychotherapy and typically treat patients with coping skills and behavioral intervention. The most frequent type of credential you see when you are looking for therapy is LSW which is a Licensed Social Worker. They are often the first line of defense and provide therapy. Each LSW may have a different therapy model, so be sure to ask.
If you are looking to get prescribed medication the psychiatrist route is definitely for you, however, you can also go to your regular MD and see if they can suggest/prescribe medication while you wait to get into a psychiatrist’s office. If you are searching for therapy, a LSW or Counselor or Therapist all can help you. I would recommend going to more than one person at first to see who you really gel with. You will be sharing things with this person that you may have never shared with anyone before so it is important to find someone that you trust. Also, most mental health professionals are open about treatment and if they think they can help you. If you meet with someone and they don’t think their therapy model will be the right fit, more often than not they will let you know.
For those of you who are limited on time, there are options to receive therapy online. You can check that out here. This is an excellent option if you wish to be at home in your pajamas and not rushed or trying to fit an appointment in at a time that doesn’t work for you.
A few final notes, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If something isn’t working during your therapy session, let your mental health professional know. This is ultimately for you! Also, if you are prescribed meds be sure to ask about all the side effects and symptoms. Often the first week of antidepressants and/or anti-anxiety meds is the hardest. Your symptoms could possibly get worse or you could experience some adverse effects. It is important to keep an open dialogue with your doctor.
BetterHelp has so graciously sponsored this post on mental health. You can learn more about them here.