Starting Mental Health Treatment for the First Time

Posted by on Jul 2, 2018 in Hot Topics | 0 comments

Seeking out and starting a mental health treatment such as a counselor or a psychiatrist can be a very intimidating task. It is difficult to know who would be right for you. Luckily, there are plenty of people along the way to help you out, and all the decisions are not just on your shoulders.


How the Process Normally Goes

Typically, the best way to shop around for a mental health provider is to take a look at where you are in life. Do you already have a Primary Care Physician (PCP)? If so, they may have referrals for you. If you do not have a PCP, you could call your insurance and ask them for providers in your network. If you do not have insurance, you pretty much have your pick and will be self-pay. Try to find someone online from there. Most website of practices have bios for their clinicians including their specialties, and style.

Once you have decided on a clinician, get in touch with them through their practice. When you call, most places have a screening process to get a feel of your needs. They will likely ask you to give a brief description on any issues you are having, and why you are seeking out counseling. You do not have to go into a lot of detail, but it is helpful for them to get you set up. When trying to get a certain clinician, you may or may not be able to be seen by the person you had chosen. It largely has to do with the provider’s availability and specialties. Trust the person you are speaking with from their practice. They will set you up as best as they can with someone who fits your needs.

It is important to know if you meet a couple times with your new clinician, and they just aren’t working out, it is okay to switch clinicians. Sometimes styles just do not match up with needs, and that’s okay. Do note however, that sometimes it can take a couple sessions to fully build rapport.

Your first session will mostly be paperwork and talking with your clinician about things going on in your life. They will have a lot of questions for you, so try not to be intimidated and be honest. If you feel uncomfortable talking about something, tell them. You can always go back to it another time. Do remember that you need to put in effort as well. The clinician can’t do the work for you.

After you have been seeing your clinician for a while, you both will decide if you feel like you need medication or not. Sometimes, you will be recommended to seek out a Psychiatrist in addition to going to counseling. They may have someone in-house who is qualified to prescribe medication, but sometimes you may have to find someone else outside of the practice. It is likely they will have referrals of psychiatrists, and not everyone may need medications, but these are all things to be discussed and decided in your sessions to come.

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