If you’re reading this, then you are probably looking for a psychologist in your area. Or perhaps, like me when I started looking for my first psychologist, you were referred to one by your doctor or therapist. Either way, the process of finding the right psychologist can seem overwhelming.
The key is to take it step by step
- Get a referral from your doctor or therapist, if possible. If they have a list of psychologists to suggest, that list should include someone who is both competent enough to accept you as a patient and flexible enough in their schedule to see you sooner rather than later.
- Call the potential psychologists’ offices and ask if they are accepting new patients. If not, ask if you can be put on a waiting list. Give them your name, contact information, and why you are looking for a psychologist (this is important! It helps the psychologist know what to expect from your first session).
Years Of Experience Is Necessary!
For psychologists, the key number they need to know is 7. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), about 7 years must pass before an aspiring psychologist can apply for licensure in a state as a fully-fledged doctor of psychology. States have their own requirements for taking the exam, so be sure to check with your own state board. The clock starts ticking on the 7-year period after an individual graduate from a doctoral program, which can take anywhere from five to seven years.
Once psychologists are licensed, they are required to complete continuing education credits over the course of their careers or face penalties that range from fines to license revocation. According to the APA, a licensed psychologist must complete at least 50 hours of continuing education every five years. Fields like clinical and counseling psychology require 60-75 hours per five-year period.
Signs Of A Trusted Psychologist
A good psychologist doesn’t have any signs as such… But there are some who can be said to be a sign of what bad psychologists do.
Some general signs that you should watch out for include:
- The psychologist is very expensive, or they ask you for money right away, before doing anything. A good psychologist does not require payment before doing any work. If a psychologist requires money, find a different one.
- The psychologist will give you easy answers and tell you to come back another time if it doesn’t go away quickly enough
- The psychologist wants to do hypnotherapy or something else where they send you away from sessions as soon as possible without working on your problems.
- The psychologist spends a lot of time talking about themselves or their life, rather than asking you questions about your life