Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you realizing that talking to your friends and co-workers about your stress just isn’t helping? Maybe it is time to find a well-qualified, reputable professional who can help you identify your problems and work to create a coping plan just for you.
According to The American Psychological Association (APA), it’s time to talk to a psychologist when…
*you want to prevent life’s stressors from threatening your physical or emotional health
*you want to build your confidence and resilience to meet challenges head on
*you want to gain a mental edge to be your best at your job and with your family/friends
*you’re overwhelmed and can’t handle the problem yourself
Why a Psychologist?
Psychologists are licensed professionals who are highly educated and according to the APA, are trained to: help you identify your problems; figure out ways to best cope with them; change unhealthy behaviors and habits; and find constructive ways to deal with situations that are beyond your control.
You may be reading this and saying to yourself: “That is exactly what I need to do! What do I do next?” Here are some steps to get you started:
*Check your health insurance plan about mental health coverage and secure a list of approved providers.
*Do your homework. Ask your family physician if he/she would recommend any of the providers on your list. Be willing to ask around. You might be surprised how many people you know are seeing a professional themselves and might give you good feedback.
*Start making some calls. When calling psychologists, here are several questions that the APA suggests that you ask: Are you licensed in my state? What areas do you specialize in (for example, depression, anxiety, stress management, coping with a chronic illness, relationship issues, etc.)? What are your billing/payment policies? Will you directly bill my insurance company?
*Schedule that first appointment then honestly evaluate how you think it went. Your therapy will involve you and your psychologist working together as a team. It’s very important that you feel comfortable with the individual you choose.
*Be prepared to talk about yourself. One of the most common problems for people in therapy is the feeling that talking about oneself is difficult. But if you connect with the right therapist, it may be easier than you think.
*Practice, practice, practice. The more you learn to talk about yourself and your struggles, hopefully the easier it will get. If you get into the practice of being open and you feel safe and feel you can trust your therapist, you just might be surprised at the results.
Although you might feel more comfortable talking to a friend who knows you and who you trust and care for, remember that therapy is completely private. You can speak freely, without fear that your story will be retold. A therapist can bring objectivity and personalized help that might be just what you need during this season of life.