How to choose a psychologist: expert advice

How to choose a psychologist: expert advice
How to choose a psychologist: expert advice

This person will know everything about you and even more: your fears, secrets, doubts. How to choose "your" psychologist and what to look for in order for help to be effective?

How to choose a psychologist: expert advice
How to choose a psychologist: expert advice
Expert: Ludmila Abukhovskaya, psychoanalytic psychotherapist, full member of the PPP, lecturer at the Institute of Practical Psychology and Psychoanalysis (

Many people come to a point in life when there is a need to seek professional psychological help. There can be many reasons for contacting: family problems, life crises and dead ends, conflicts at work, tragic events, lack of understanding with children, panic attacks and much more. Do not consider visiting a psychologist as a manifestation of weakness of character. On the contrary, we often find ourselves in situations where even close people who sincerely wish us well, or outlets in the form of hobbies and travels, turn out to be completely ineffective. After all, we are all different: each person has his own unique life experience, character and personal qualities, education, environment, which undoubtedly affects his way of thinking and attitude towards the world and others. There are no universal methods of assistance, and there are no universal psychologists suitable for everyone and everyone.

Tip 1: Focus on yourself

Tip 2: Types of Psychological Help

Today there are a large number of types of psychological assistance, from traditional psychoanalysis to unusual types of therapy - movement, related to art. There is no point in diving deep into this, but study the descriptions of the methods - to understand what is best for you. For example, those who are interested in creative self-expression will be close to art therapy or dance-movement psychotherapy. Clients who experience problems in the family and are oriented towards classical psychotherapy are better off opting for family therapy. If you want to go a long way of self-knowledge or change stable, repetitive types of your behavior, resolve problems that have existed for more than one year, then it is better to prefer psychoanalytic psychotherapy, where your problem will be considered through the prism of your entire life and your relationship with your parents. Quick self-help will be provided by the skill of bodywork with breathing (for example, holotropic breathing) and elements of art therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, narrative therapy, short-term, non-solution-oriented psychotherapy, psychodrama.

Tip 3: Evaluation Criteria

There are external and internal criteria for evaluating a specialist. The external ones include his professional qualities and the cost of the meeting, the education of a specialist, work experience, age, sometimes gender, appearance, qualities of temperament, communication features. The location of the consultation is also important, as is the organization or professional community to which the specialist belongs. In any case, only you yourself, by external signs, will be able to determine which parameters will become a priority for you.

But, in addition to external, there are also internal criteria - and this is one of the key points. Making an objectively correct choice is much more difficult. In order to understand that this is “your” psychologist, it takes time, and here it is worth listening not only to the inner voice, but also to the mind. In psychology, there is such a thing as a “good enough mother”. This means that such a mother is authoritative, but not to the point of authoritarianism, supportive, but not so that you do not have the opportunity to sometimes get out of difficulties on your own, kind, but not so much that you can never get angry with her. The same principle applies to choosing a psychologist.

Many psychologists offer to hold several diagnostic meetings to get to know each other and make a decision. And here it is important to listen to your inner voice, to understand your expectations. Your psychologist should be on the same wavelength with you, you should feel his support, attention and empathy, but this does not mean at all that he should not have his own opinion, which may not coincide with yours.

Tip 4: Where to look

The easiest way is to ask friends and family. But often, when looking for a specialist, we do not want to share our problems with friends. In this case, the Internet comes to the rescue. There are specialized sites where contacts of psychologists are presented, a good specialist can be found through the Institutes of Psychology and other educational organizations, professional communities. If you need a one-time consultation or help, you can contact free psychological services.

Tip 5: The right to refuse

A psychologist is a guide who will accompany you on the path of a long and difficult journey into the labyrinths of your inner world. He can be a friend, a companion, sometimes a mother, sometimes an opponent in a dispute, this is a person to whom you can entrust your most intimate secrets, thoughts, anxieties and experiences. It is important from the very beginning of your communication to establish a style of relationship that will allow you to refuse to continue working at any time or take time to make a decision. This is completely normal - do not be shy and do not think that you will offend the specialist by doing this.

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