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Part I. Choosing a Therapist: Find the Right Therapist


Therapist office

What's the Purpose of Therapy?


Therapy is a safe and non-judgmental space where you should be able to anything without inhibition. The goal is to declutter your mind and find tools that help you function better. Different therapists use different approaches. When seeking therapy, it's crucial to find a therapist who is a good fit for you.


Difference Between A Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist

Difference Between A Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist


There's a tendency to confuse therapy and psychiatry. While they both are mental health professions, they are not the same or even interchangeable.

  • Psychotherapists: Typically, psychotherapists hold a Master's degree or Doctoral degree in General, Counselling or Clinical Psychology. Their education and training focus on psychotherapy techniques, counseling theories, and clinical practice. Psychotherapists primarily provide talk therapy or counselling to individuals, couples, families, or groups using various therapeutic approaches

  • Psychiatrists: Psychiatrists are medical doctors with an MD or DO in Psychiatry. Their education includes general medical training as well as specialized training in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of mental health disorders. Psychiatrists usually focus on prescribing medication to treat mental health disorders. They might provide psychotherapy if they've been trained in it.

If I could give you a small piece of advice, first meet up with a therapist before going to a psychiatrist. If therapy alone doesn't help then you can opt for medication. However, medication alone will not be enough in the long run. Therapy is essential to find the tools to help you function and not struggle.



Ethical Standards

Ethical Standards


Every therapist must abide by these ethical principles in their practice:


Autonomy:

One of the goals of therapy is help you develop the ability to make your decisions. Your therapist must foster your right to control the direction of your life. In other words, your therapist should not try to make decisions for you, manipulate or force you into making decisions they deem best.


Nonmaleficence:

Your therapist must avoid any action that cause you harm - physically, emotionally and financially. Your therapist has an ethical duty to ensure that you feel safe in your sessions.


Beneficence:

Your welfare and mental health are of the utmost priority. Your therapist must act in your best interest at all times.


Fidelity:

Honoring commitments, maintaining boundaries, and most of all ensuring confidentiality is so essential to maintain a healthy professional relationship between your therapist and you.


Justice:

Your therapist must treat you with fairness and equity. They should neither be judgmental nor enabling unhealthy patterns. They must be honest and focus on facts throughout the therapeutic process.


Mental Health in India

Mental Health Practice in India


In India, not every field of mental health has a regulatory body to ensure that malpractice can have legal implications. There is a licensing board for clinical psychology, but none for counselling or general psychology. However, it is not illegal for us to have a practice. 

While there is a bill passed for a regulatory body, it is going to take a couple of years to establish it. 

Until then ensure that your therapist has the right credentials. The minimum requirement is M.A./M.Sc. in Psychology. Post graduate degrees in Counselling and Clinical Psychology provide better training. Counselling psychologists exclusively focus on therapy.



Checklist to Choose the Right Therapist

Checklist to Choose the Right Therapist for You


Here's a concise checklist you can use to find the therapist that is the best fit for you:


  • Preferably use a referral from family, friends or acquaintances. 

  • If you're finding one on your own, ensure that they have the right credentials. 

  • Therapy can be expensive. Figure out your budget and then decide. Some therapists provide sliding scales or structure sessions to accommodate your budget. 

  • Figure out your therapy goals. It is perfectly alright if you have none and you're trying to get a feel of it.


Ask your therapist these questions:

⭘ What are you qualifications? 

⭘ How much do you charge? Do you have a sliding-scale options?   

⭘ What are your areas of expertise? 

⭘ What happens in a typical therapy session?

⭘ How do you set up counseling goals?

⭘ Have you worked with people in similar situations?


If you're still unsure, try out a session or more and then decide. If you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or judged, you can always end these sessions. If you don't feel like you're making any progress or they're unable to relate to you, you can switch to a different therapist.

To know what kind of therapists to avoid, please continue reading Part II. Choosing a Therapist.

If you're seeking therapy, you can book an appointment with us.

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