If you’re considering therapy, you may have already noticed that there is a tremendous range of treatment modalities available. It can be challenging or overwhelming to try to navigate what may be the best option for you. While some strategies are more effective in certain situations, others might be useful for a variety of problems, and you are bound to have some influence from friends, professionals, or Google searches which may be swaying your thoughts.
To be sure you are thinking through what may be the best fit, these are some factors to consider when approaching a Psychology practice looking for support:
Mental health/Physical condition: Different therapy modalities are more effective for different mental health conditions.
Cost and insurance: Some therapy modalities may not be covered by insurance or may have a higher co-pay.
Availability: Consider the availability of therapists and how accessible the therapy is for you.
Therapist’s expertise: Look for a therapist who specialises in the type of therapy you are considering. (Remember, many therapists are trained across multiple therapy types and may take an “integrative” or “eclectic” approaching, meaning they combine types to personalise treatment.)
Evidence-based: Research has shown that certain therapies are effective for specific mental health conditions.
Goals: Consider what your specific treatment goals are and choose a therapy modality that aligns with those goals
In order to ensure you receive the right kind of treatment, a collaborative approach is going to be required between both the patient and the therapist. This does demand some level of trust in the clinicians who you speak to, as it is their experience and education that can best match individual patients’ needs with a treatment type that is suitable using the above criteria.
Many individuals often enter into the therapeutic process having done some research, which is fabulous and a wonderful way to take ownership over your care! But there are pitfalls to becoming too fixated on one aspect of treatment without the guidance of a professional (let’s not forget the snarky, if not humorous, retort, “Don’t mistake my doctoral degree with your Google search!”). It can be difficult when the clinician will know the merits and flaws behind one treatment approach but be instructed to perform another; this can also occur when a GP, other consultant, case manager, or solicitor may recommend a type of therapeutic treatment, where they may not always be aware of all of the treatment modalities available. It’s important to keep this in mind when considering recommendations.
To better prepare you for preliminary research into choosing a therapist and treatment type, here are some of the danger areas to keep an eye out for when searching for information about diagnoses and therapy on Google:
Misinformation: Not all information found online is accurate, and it can be difficult to differentiate between credible and unreliable sources.
Self-diagnosis: Using online resources to self-diagnose can lead to incorrect conclusions and delay proper medical treatment.
Incomplete information: Online sources may provide partial information about a topic, leading to an incomplete understanding of the issue.
Bias: Some websites may present information with a particular bias or perspective that is not based on scientific evidence.
Lack of context: Online information may not provide the full context necessary to understand a condition or treatment, leading to misinterpretation.
So when beginning your journey towards finding a Psychologist, it’s important you feel a sense of comfort with the Psychologist that you will be able to collaboratively consult with them, to receive accurate and personalised information about your health and emotional well-being. After all, you wouldn’t go to a surgeon and tell them which surgery you want – you would have a collaborative conversation about it.
Therefore, for success in therapy, allow your clinician to be the expert in choosing therapy options for you while you give guidance of your preferences, preconceptions, likes and goals.