Things to Know Before Consulting a Psychologist
You must keep a few things in mind before consulting a psychologist. Are you in a particularly stressful situation and don’t see a way out? Have you lost a loved one and the pain is so overwhelming? These are only two of the common reasons for seeking therapy.
Many questions arise when considering professional help. Will it solve all my problems? How does it work? Does needing it mean I’m crazy?
To address your doubts about therapy, you must keep in mind that there are widespread false beliefs in psychology, as in many other professions. You might even believe some of them yourself.
Does consulting a psychologist mean you’re “crazy”?
It’s common to think that going to therapy means you have some sort of psychopathological disorder because “only crazy people need it”. However, psychotherapy doesn’t only deal with psychopathological disorders. In fact, it also targets personal growth, problem-solving, and decision-making.
As you can see, it isn’t necessary to have a psychological disorder in order to benefit from this kind of help. In this regard, Josep Vilajoana, Vice President of the General Psychology Counsel of Spain, says that this myth has been debunked. People are losing their fear of consulting a psychologist and don’t believe that only the mentally ill do so.
“Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.”
A psychologist should be able to give advice on what to do
This professional won’t give you specific directions. This is because one of the main goals of therapy is for the person to retain the greatest possible perception of control over themselves. Thus, the psychologist’s job is to propose solutions rather than solve problems.
In other words, psychologists guide and supplement and offer different points of view to reduce discomfort. They might give directions, but mainly in cases in which their patient’s life is in serious danger.
Is consulting a psychologist the solution to all of your problems?
The answer to this question is clear: therapy isn’t going to solve your problems but it’s going to give you tools to better manage them. Ultimately, you’ll have to overcome them. Indeed, it’s important to keep in mind that a psychologist won’t make all your problems disappear.
A psychologist guides, helps make decisions, and provides tools. It’s up to every patient to walk the chosen path or apply the appropriate strategy.
Doubts about consulting a psychologist
Before going to see a psychologist, you may have wondered, “Who should I call?”, “How much will it cost?”, “How many sessions will I need?”, or “Will the professional be able to help me?” These questions are common in anyone who considers going to therapy.
Remember that it’s common to be anxious and doubtful before attending the first session. The psychologist will make an evaluation in this first meeting and then explain the kind of intervention you might need. This is the perfect moment to clear any doubts with them. Ultimately, an experienced specialist should be able to help you manage your expectations.
Keep this in mind before canceling an appointment
“I made an appointment with a psychologist today but I don’t think I’m ready for it. I think I’m going to cancel it.” This is an internal dialogue that many people have before actually going to their appointment. They may even listen to it and bow down to their fear.
If these thoughts come to mind, remember that you made an appointment with a professional who set aside time to see you and is probably already working on your first session and on how to help you. Thus, you must be consistent with the decisions you make. Anyone can have an emergency or fall ill at a moment’s notice but you must really have a compelling reason to cancel at the last minute.
Finally, you may have doubts and questions about therapy. Try to clear any doubts you might have with the professional, as well as tell them about your expectations. This is because there are many myths out there that can distort the results.
Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. Psychologists have been trained for years to propose, implement, and supervise interventions that could be useful to you. For this reason, seeking psychological treatment could be the best decision you’ll ever make.