How to navigate your mental health journey
You may have been in contact with helpers and healers within the mental health community previously, and had positive, negative, or neutral experiences, or perhaps this is your first time seeking help, healing, and support.
Just as you might inquire, explore, and investigate the right kind of home, vehicle, pet, school, or even pair of jeans, in order to feel out the fit, it is important to understand as much as you can before making contact or as part of that first session.
Things of which to be aware:
The areas of education, training, interest, or expertise of the individual
If the individual engages in supervision or is part of a peer consultation group
If they continue to update their knowledge and skills through professional development
How long you might expect to be connected to an individual or an agency
(this differs depending on public, community, or private practice)
The cost, the length of session, location/distance, and parking
The late or cancellation policy and related fees
The informed consent and confidentiality document
(Be sure to read, understand fully, and ask any questions you may have about this document)
When seeking someone with whom to share your journey for healing, understand their title, ask about their credentials, education, training, and approach, and see how you feel while sharing space with them, whether that is over the telephone or in person. A large portion of therapy is the therapeutic alliance - the relationship - the fit. Its important to feel welcomed, heard, and accepted in an authentic and non-judgmental way.
Do your due diligence when selecting a counselling psychologist. If your options are limited and/or you are in a community agency or the public health care system, raise any concerns you have if you feel safe and comfortable to do so. A good psychologist can take the heat and will investigate what is or is not happening for or between you, collaboratively with you. Ultimately, you may need to ask for a different professional, if possible, or continue to ask until you find a comfortable relationship that works.
The therapist comments in the article embedded above from The Mighty may reflect a lack of experience, awareness, insight, education, or training, or perhaps reflect having had a very bad day.
If you're thinking, "How do these people become 'therapists'?.." make sure to ask that question.
It is important to understand who is helping you, their scope of practice, limitations, and the expectations on both sides.
Familiarize yourself a little with those with whom you may make contact in the field of mental health.
There is a place for but differences between:
family support workers
mental health therapists
behaviour health coach
psychiatric registered nurses
general practitioner physicians
clinical social workers