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Counseling: How to Choose the Best Therapist-From Cary, Algonquin and Crystal Lake

Jun 2, 2008
Do you feel overwhelmed? Are you considering getting help to deal with your problems?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 25 million Americans need professional help to deal effectively with feelings and problems that seem beyond their control. These include problems with family, job loss, bereavement, depression, stress, relationships and substance abuse.

Those stresses and conflicts can be burdensome as well as significantly debilitating; sometimes we need outside help from a professional in order to work through them. Using therapy, counseling, hypnosis and personality testing, psychologists help millions of people of all ages live healthier, more productive and higher quality lives.

Consider Therapy If...

1. You feel a prolonged sense of powerlessness or sadness and your unhappiness continues looming over you like a gray, dark and threatening cloud.

2. You are having abnormal difficulty fulfilling everyday responsibilities and carrying-out tasks: For example, you have a bad temper and your job performance and marriage are suffering as a result.

3. You worry all the time, anticipate the worst or are always on edge.

4. Your behavior is becoming harmful to yourself and/or others: For instance, you are abusing alcohol, taking drugs illegally or becoming careless, negligent or aggressive.

What Is a Psychologist? What Is Counseling? How does it all Work?

Psychologists who specialize in psychotherapy, counseling and other forms of psychological treatments are highly trained professionals. They have particular expertise in the areas of human emotions, psychological testing and the diagnosis and treatment of emotional problems.

They help patients to improve their feelings and attitudes and to develop healthier, more effective behaviors. They use scientifically proven techniques to help people modify their thoughts, feelings, and resolve conflicts.

The word psychotherapy is used interchangeably with the word counseling in this article; this therapeutic or counseling process is a collaboration between you and your psychologist in which you discuss the causes of your conflicts and worries and ways to meet your goals and resolve them.

Counseling or psychotherapy provides a supportive non-judgemental environment in which you can talk openly and privately about your innermost concerns and feelings. Psychologists emphasize confidentiality and will also provide information about those rare exceptions when it may not apply.

How Can I Find a Psychologist who Can Help Me?

To find a psychologist, start by asking a family member or friend who may have undergone treatment with someone. You can also ask your minister, physician, chiropractor or another health professional. Call the Illinois or American Psychological Association. Call a local university or college psychology department and speak with one of the professors. You might also ask a nurse you happen to encounter when getting other healthcare services.

What Should I Ask About when Considering who I Should Choose...?

Remember that a psychologist and you work together. Personalities and rapport are important. Once the psychologists credentials and competence are verified, your level of personal comfort with him or her becomes crucial; a good rapport is critical. It is important that you feel at ease.

Questions To Ask...

Are you a licensed to practice independently in this state? What are the three types of cases you deal with the most and how many years have you been practicing psychology?

What experience do you have in helping people specifically with my types of problems?

Are you certified as a diplomate (specialist) in any area--for example, working with children, families or substance abuse?

What kind of counseling techniques do you use, and has research proven them effective for dealing with my kind of problem?

What are your fees? (Fees are usually based on a 45- minute to 50-minute session.). Do you have a contracted rate with my insurance carrier? If so, what would be my co-payment? How many sessions would you recommend?

What type of insurance do you accept? Will you bill and accept payment from my insurance company directly? What managed care organizations do you serve? Do you accept Medicare or Medicaid?


Many insurance companies provide coverage for mental health services. Check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers them and, if so, whether or not you are required to use one of their network providers.

This also applies if you are enrolled in an HMO or other type of managed care plan. Find out how much you will be reimbursed for mental health services and what limitations on your use of benefits may apply.

If you do not have a private health insurance or employee assistance program available to you, you may have to pay for your services out-of-pocket. A few psychologists and most non-profit community counseling agencies operate on a sliding-scale fee policy, where the amount you pay depends on your income.

Also, some state Medicaid programs provide for limited mental health services from psychologists if you are considered economically disadvantaged.
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt orlearn more about counseling at: http://www.carypsychology.com
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