1. Find someone you can relate to
We all know that there are people out there that you just seem to ‘click’ with in your personal life, and the same goes for seeing a psychologist. Finding someone you can relate to and respect can be the biggest challenge, so try to seek out someone with similar demographics or values as you – perhaps they are similar in age or the same gender, or who understands your spiritual beliefs, which can be a great starting point. Then get a sense of how you feel when you are around them. Ideally, you’ll want to feel comfortable, safe and willing to talk to them openly. If it doesn’t feel this way, it might be worth exploring other options. Counselling should feel warm, respectful and thoughtful and the support should feel personally tailored to your needs. A psychologist will normally ask you lots of questions to get to know you. Don’t be afraid to ask them some back. A good psychologist will keep personal boundaries but won’t be afraid to have a laugh with their client and connect with them. Don’t be afraid to ask what type of therapy they do or what sessions with them will involve so you can get an idea of what the therapeutic process is going to look like.
2. Don't be afraid to be challenged
It’s ok if you don’t know where to start. Start wherever your comfortable, and the psychologist can help guide the session by asking thoughtful questions to help you to set and work towards your goals. A psychologist’s role is to (metaphorically) walk side by side with you, contributing their objective and professional insights to help you achieve your goals. Whilst you may feel shy at first, it’s import that you trust in the process. The process takes time and commitment. While you want to get on well with your psychologist don’t be surprised if they gently and safely challenge you. This might take the form of difficult and thought provoking questions or setting tasks for you to complete that take you out of your comfort zone. The idea is that these challenges will help move the session to a place of growth and development.
Throughout the sessions, the psychologist should check in with you to ensure the sessions have been helpful and are focusing on what’s important to you. This includes checking in about what’s working well and not so well for you so the approach can be adjusted as needed. These reviews may also include amendments to your goals. You should feel heard and your goals should be identified early on so that it’s clear from the outset what you want to get out of the sessions. Furthermore, the sessions should include the opportunity to reflect on how you are feeling, any new insights you’ve learnt, any changes you’ve applied to your life, and the impact of these changes.
3. Seek the right expertise
You may find that as you address certain concerns, new insights and concerns come up for you that are now outside of the psychologist’s area of expertise. It’s best-practice for a psychologist to let you know when something is not their area of expertise, and offer to support you in the referral process. At this time, your psychologist can provide handover to the new psychologist so that you don’t feel like you’re starting over again from scratch.
4. Consider matching options
Matching consultations are a relatively new concept however they are a great way to find the ‘best fit’ psychologists Depending on who you are looking to see, matching options can range from automated algorithms based on your personality and the things you like, or more in-depth chemistry sessions. Lysn offers both of these options to help you find a psychologist that’s right for you. To start with, the platform helps match you with your best-fit psychologist no matter where you live. Then, you can choose to do a short 25-minute matching chemistry consultation where you can speak with the psychologist before making the commitment to ongoing counselling with them. This allows you to try a few different psychologists if you prefer, before deciding to settle on one of your choice.
5. Know where to go
There are several ways you can organise to see a psychologist. You can access a psychologist directly if this meets your needs. You can also see your GP who could help you organise a referral. The GP will ask some questions to better understand your needs. They may also offer to set you up with a mental health care plan for a Medicare rebate. You can access psychologist through several organisations. Lysn is a telehealth online option, with hundreds of friendly psychologists with a wide range of expertise. You can view all of their photos, bio and specialities online.