When a person wants to choose a psychologist, they usually ask someone they trust (a friend, family member …) if they know one who is good. Well, in many cases we meet that person who tells us about his bad experience with one who he went to for a couple of months and it was absolutely useless. He went to the consultation, they talked but he did not help him or suggest any change, therefore in the end he threw the money. With comments like this, it is normal to find skepticism about this profession, often very poorly valued …

Is this the reality? Is psychological therapy useful? Of course, yes, however among many other things we have to find a psychologist who is a good professional. Therefore, from Bekia we give you some tips to choose a good professional.

1- Are we really before a psychologist?

You have to find out how he defines himself, does he call himself a psychologist or psychological therapist (psychotherapist)? Unfortunately there are many people who take advantage of the general population’s ignorance about psychology and through misleading advertising make it appear that they are psychologists when in reality they are not . The easiest way to choose is to check if he is registered , they will usually have it on his personal website, and if you cannot ask him directly (you are within your right) or look for him on the website of the Official College of Psychologists in the area where you live.

Afterwards, and depending on the problem, you can inquire about the additional training they have . For example, if your problem is clinical, you should go to a clinical psychologist who has the title of Health Generalist (necessary to work in private health) or Specialist (with whom you can work in both public and private health). To do this, go to his website and investigate, if he has nothing to hide, he will surely have it exposed in a section in which he talks about his training.

If you have doubts, do not be shy, you can ask him directly about the type of therapy he usually performs and the psychological current , if he tells you that it is cognitive behavioral and that the therapy to follow will depend on the case is a good sign because not all therapies are effective or They are empirically proven, and of course there is not a single suitable current for all disorders, although the cognitive-behavioral one is perhaps the one that reaches the most disorders.

On the other hand, the professional must follow a series of phases during the therapeutic process: an evaluation, a diagnosis, therapy and finally a long-term follow-up. The most important point here is the initial evaluation , which consists of a psychological interview and questionnaires or tests that will depend on the type of problem with which the person comes, then he will meet with you, present the results and propose a therapy proposal explaining you the process and the steps followed.

2- How are the sessions?

Ask the professional for the approximate number of sessions and their duration. Surely he will tell you that it depends on the problem and how the person responds, usually they do not usually go beyond 20 sessions unless it is a serious disorder or a personality disorder that needs continuous monitoring. On the other hand, the average duration of the sessions is usually 55 minutes , never less than 45 minutes because there is no time for almost anything. Finally, the frequency of the sessions is usually weekly and little by little they lengthen over time as the person improves. In some cases the person usually comes twice a week at the beginning of the therapy, if he demands more of you it has to be justified.

3- He sends you tasks to do between sessions

A good sign that the psychologist knows what he is doing is that he sends you tasks according to the problems you pose, for example making activity logs, answering questionnaires, behavioral experiments, etc. These tasks involve the patient to put into practice the learned skills and agree what he is doing in therapy. Of course, for them to be valid they have to be justified.

4- Finally, choose a psychologist in public or private health?

It is a controversial and debatable topic, which is better? Here we can find all kinds of opinions … The answer is the same as for the rest of the professionals, public or private health? Public or private dentist? well … it will depend on what you are looking for .

As a point in favor for public health is that you make sure that the psychologist has received the necessary training , since to get there they have to pass quite difficult oppositions while with the private one you have to investigate their training before (almost anyone can open a query today). However, once it is clear that both have good clinical training, the most important point to take into account is the resources available to Spanish healthcare. Security psychologists have a high demand for patients , therefore it is very difficult to follow an effective therapy, for example, weekly appointments with the same patient are almost non-existent (only the most serious cases) andForget being an hour … If your problem is not very serious, they will give you an appointment once a month and the sessions will last approximately 30-40 minutes at most, therefore, even if the psychologist is very well prepared, little can be done to control those factors . In addition, the private psychologist designs a therapy exclusively for you , as well as the sessions … It is rare that a public psychologist can do that due to the high number of patients he can have per day.

Which one should I go to? It depends on what you are looking for, the public psychologist will be free and if you do not have resources it is your only option, anyway, they can help you solve a large part of the problem and if it is serious they are better prepared to treat you in a hospital (for example before a psychotic break or suicide attempt ). However, if your problem is not so urgent, you want to definitively solve the problem and you can afford it, go to a private one, the service will be adapted to your specific needs and is faster. 

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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