Choosing the Right Mental Health Professional

Mental health professionals can be located via the telephone book, health insurance companies, recommendations from previous or existing clients, the Internet, or by other professional recommendations. How do you choose someone you can trust, be vulnerable with and respect? How do you choose someone that will understand your unique circumstances and symptoms? How do you choose someone that will treat you with dignity, care and respect?

Researching a mental health professional can be cumbersome and painstaking, especially when seeking a qualified, competent, and respected professional. Therefore, the following qualities and conditions need to be present when seeking a professional to assist you in resolving interpersonal crises, decreasing debilitating emotional symptoms, seeking reassurance, addressing work-related difficulties or managing a multitude of other problems:

  1. The mental health professional need to be experienced and competent. Research qualifications, professional organization membership, Internet websites, professional surveys online, recommendations from previous and existing clients and other health care professionals, professional degrees, and schools attended to determine the qualifications of the professional.
  2. Establish a telephone or in-person meeting to ascertain the appropriate “fit” of the mental health professional and your specific needs.
  3. Determine if the mental health professional performs the type of service you require; i.e., individual outpatient psychotherapy, neuropsychological tests or other specialized testing, group outpatient psychotherapy, referrals to other mental health professionals, etc.
  4. Evaluate the ability of the mental health professional to network and refer you to other professionals to provide a continuum of care and services.
  5. Determine if the mental health professional is affordable and accepts your health insurance. Inquire as to rates per session. Telephone your health insurance carrier to discover if the mental health professional participates in your health insurance network prior to establishing an appointment.
  6. Inquire as to the treatment modalities and specializations of the mental health professional. What does treatment include? There are numerous types of therapy that are practiced, but only certain types may meet your needs and expectations. Discuss treatment goals, expectations and time frames at the onset of therapy because treatment begins during the first session.
  7. Determine if the mental health professional can provide the outcome you are seeking; i.e., symptom change, improvement in mood, improved functioning at home, work or school, improved communication, improved relationships, improved self-understanding, improved abilities of daily living, etc.
  8. The mental health professional understands that your attendance during sessions is usually voluntary and subject to termination at any time. You are “in control” of the length of treatment and the outcome of treatment. The mental health professional is your “partner” in successfully addressing your specific problems or issues.
  9. Frequently monitor and evaluate treatment progress and honestly discuss your perceptions with the mental health professional.

At Michael S. Finn, P.C., we value your time, commitment, opinions and feedback. We realize that you have numerous choices in seeking treatment and constantly strive to improve our services to meet the individual needs of our clients. We appreciate your confidence in continuing to choose us to meet your needs.