For those who suffer from mental illnesses like schizophrenia, medication can be effective in alleviating the most serious symptoms, but lifestyle management and substantive therapy go further in treating the illness long-term. Since therapy can play a key role in achieving and maintaining stability, it's very important that you be selective in choosing a therapist. While every licensed therapist does have professional credentials, the styles and personalities of each different therapist are more suited to some patients than others. Here are a few tips for finding a therapist that meets your specific needs.
1. Get recommendations from friends or family.
To get a better idea of what a therapist will be like before you meet him or her, ask your friends, acquaintances, or family for recommendations. Word-of-mouth is often the best way to begin an initial search for a therapist because you'll know exactly how the potential therapist works based on personal insight.
2. Don't be afraid to shop around.
Many people will simply go with the first therapist they talk to. However, you should see therapy as an investment in your personal well-being. If you don't "click" with the first therapist you talk to, see a few others before deciding on any one.
3. Find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable.
Since the things you talk about during successful therapy sessions are of a highly personal nature, you'll need to be very comfortable sharing details about your life that you wouldn't normally divulge to other people. If you feel hesitant to tell your therapist about any sort of challenge you're facing in your life, then this is a sign that you might need to look for someone else.
4. The office environment is also important.
While a therapist you are considering may be a perfect fit in all respects, the environment in which the sessions will be conducted is important, too. Take note about how you feel when you enter the therapist's office. Is it an environment in which you feel safe and secure enough to talk freely?
5. Ask the therapist what her specialties are.
Therapy has developed hundreds of different approaches over the years--from psychoanalysis to cognitive therapy to everything in between. Do some research and find out what method most appeals to you. Also ask the therapist what she hopes to accomplish with her patients, what she sees is the role of therapy in general, and anything else that you can think of that you wish to know before deciding.
These are just a few considerations to take into account while looking for the perfect therapist. Above all, remember that it isn't a decision that you should make lightly. Therapy can be as effective as you want it to be, but finding someone with whom you can establish a long-term relationship is most important. Also, if after a few sessions you feel that the therapy is largely ineffective, then don't hesitate in finding someone new. You'd be surprised by how life-changing therapy can be, provided you take the right steps in the decision-making process.
This guest post is contributed by Kitty Holman, who writes on the topics of nursing schools. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: firstname.lastname@example.org.