How do I choose a psychologist?

To find a psychologist, ask your physician, OB/GYN, pediatrician or another health professional. Call your local or state psychological association. Consult a local university or college department of psychology. Ask family and friends. Contact your area community mental health center. Inquire at your church or synagogue.

Find a Psychologist – MPA Referral Service

What to consider when making the choice

Psychologist’s and clients work together. The right match is important. Most psychologists agree that an important factor in determining whether or not to work with a particular psychologist, once that psychologist’s credentials and competence are established, is your level of personal comfort with that psychologist. Choose one with whom you feel comfortable and at ease.

Questions to ask

  • Are you a licensed psychologist? How many years have you been practicing?
  • I have been feeling (anxious, tense, depressed, etc.) and I’m having problems (with my job, my marriage, eating, sleeping, etc.). What experience do you have helping people with these types of problems?
  • What are your areas of expertise — for example, working with children and families?
  • What kinds of treatments do you use, and have they been proven effective for dealing with my kind of problem or issue?
  • What are your fees? (Fees are usually based on a 45-minute to 50-minute session.) Do you have a sliding-scale fee policy?
  • What types of insurance do you accept? Will you accept direct billing to or payment from my insurance company? Are you affiliated with any managed care organizations? Do you accept Medicare or Medicaid insurance?

If you have particular concerns that are deal-breakers for you, ask about them. You might want to work with psychologist’s who shares your religious views or cultural background, for example. While some psychologists are more open to disclosing personal information than others, the response will give you important information about whether you’ll work well together.

While you’re assessing a psychologist, he or she will also be assessing you. To ensure that psychotherapy is successful, the psychologist must determine whether there’s a good match when it comes to personality as well as professional expertise. If the psychologist feels the fit isn’t right — perhaps because you need someone with a different specialty area — he or she will refer you to another psychologist who can help.

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