How to choose a Psychologist?
You can choose through a recommendation or setting up an appointment where you have the chance to meet the professional, their method of work, values and especially if there is empathy and trust. It is important that you check whether the psychologist is registered with one of the professional associations (i.e. HCPC, BPS and others). Additionally, the psychologist should pay professional insurance.
What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?
A psychiatrist is a medical professional who treats mental illness. He is able to prescribe medications, which the psychologist is not entitled to do.
The psychologist has a degree and/or a post-graduation in Psychology and deals with mental processes (feelings, thought, reason) and human behaviour.
The medication will only help in relieving the symptoms and will not act and focus on the problem that can only be understood and worked through in psychotherapy. In some cases, psychotherapy and psychiatric treatment (medication) should be tied together.
Are psychotherapy sessions pleasant?
Not always, ultimately painful memories, frustrations or feelings may surface. This is a normal part of therapy and the psychologist will guide you through this process. If the last session touched a nerve or a painful emotion it is important to talk to the psychologist.
What is said in the session will remain confidential?
Yes, the issue of confidentiality is one of the most important points of the Code of Professional Ethics. The psychologist cannot tell anyone what was said in the sessions.
However, while a professional judgement has to be made each time, it will sometimes be right to share critical information. “If the purpose of the disclosure is to prevent a person who lacks capacity from serious harm, there is an expectation that practitioners will disclose relevant confidential information if it is considered to be in the person’s best interest to do so.” (British Psychological Society (BPS) and Health & Care Professions Council (HPCP) Code of Professional Ethics)
Can a person become dependent on therapy?
No. The psychologist does not say what should be done or if it’s right or wrong. She/he assists with the issues brought to the therapy, helping improve self-esteem so that increases client confidence, and therefore easier for her/him to deal with the day-to-day difficulties.
How long does therapy last?
The total length of therapy depends on both the type of problem to be dealt with, as well as the client’s engagement in the therapy. However, inner change does not happen overnight.
The treatment can be long-term and is advisable at least one weekly session.
A few people feel let down by this, but psychotherapy involves an important commitment and continuous work; not missing sessions and, also, not being late for treatment.
How long does each session last?
Usually, it varies between 50 to 60 minutes each session. The first meeting is intended to understand the client’s needs and have an overview of the issues to be discussed in the following sessions. In this meeting, the psychologist and the client will agree upon the method for the therapeutic interventions.
If you have a friend or family member who needs therapy but refuses to go, what should be done?
Many people are afraid to go to therapy for fear of being labelled “crazy”, if it happens it is important to clarify the concerns. But, if the person still refuses to seek treatment, do not insist, because without compromising the client’s therapy will not bring results. It is important to respect the time and the need for each of us.
However, if you feel the person can cause harm to herself/himself you are supposed to contact the GP, or someone or some organisation where you can get the right advice to help.
When should the therapy stop?
It should be when you and the therapist decide together you have achieved the aims you set to achieve. However, the individual may feel that got “what she/he wanted” from the therapy, even if the therapist feels differently.