Speaking with a psychologist hasn’t been on my mind for very long. It was only the middle of last year that I really started considering some sort of therapy. I didn’t grow up being taught about therapy, and I never thought that it was an option for me financially. In May of this year, at the age of 25, I took the initiative to find a psychologist (with the help of my boyfriend) that was right for me and make an appointment with her. She’s a young, Black female with a decade’s worth of experience, and she specializes in multicultural issues, such as those of the Black and other marginalized communities.
What happened with the psychologist?
Spilling my guts to a complete stranger was—strange, to say the least. It was very unfamiliar, but I knew that if I wanted to reach any sort of milestone, I had to start strong. I began telling her some of the biggest issues I was dealing with and how much or little they have impacted my life. Just a brief introduction, if you will. She had this way of feeding off of things I was saying and branching off into deeper topics. Before I knew it, I had been talking to her for 40 minutes straight!
It’s safe to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with her. She gave me ample time to talk, while at the same time, giving me feedback along the way. She never judged any of the silly things I was saying. In fact, she made me feel completely normal, despite some of the emotions I expressed to her. If you’re asking whether a psychologist may be good for you, then the answer is yes. I say try it! The worst thing that could happen is that you don’t like it. If so, you have the option of never going back.
What was the process of booking a psychologist?
The process was fairly easy for me. All I did was send my psychologist an email and let her know that I wanted to see her. She took care of the rest!
What are the differences between therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists?
Ahhh, I definitely had this question, too. A lot of people use these terms interchangeably, but there are quite a few differences among the three:
|Therapist||a general term for someone who helps patients/clients make decisions and clarify feelings; can have any number of degrees in a variety of disciplines, including psychology, marriage counseling, etc.|
|Psychologist||someone who helps patients/clients make decisions and clarify feelings, but this practitioner MUST have an advanced degree in psychology; has the official authority to diagnose mental disorders and recommend proper clinical treatments; usually works directly with a psychiatrist|
|Psychiatrist||someone who helps patients/clients make decisions and clarify feelings, but this practitioner is a trained medical doctor; has the highest authority to diagnose mental disorders; the ONLY practitioner who can prescribe medication for patients; usually works directly with a psychologist|
*Information from PsychologyToday.com.
Should you find a psychologist who looks like you, too?
Not necessarily. But you should find someone who can identify with the most important parts of you. I went for someone who looks like me and possibly has the same upbringing as I do. It helps me because a lot of the issues that I started explaining to her were issues that she already knew about, understood and could directly relate to. I didn’t even have to go into drastic detail! She was able to pinpoint my grievances and understand all the nuances behind each situation. Makes therapy a much easier process.
It honestly depends on what you want out of each session. You may find a psychologist who doesn’t look like you, but she can identify with the struggles of being an atheist in a Christian family (just as an example). There’s a psychologist for everything nowadays. Make sure you spend time finding the right one.
Have I been back to see my psychologist?
No, but not because I don’t want to. Financially speaking, it’s been a bit of a stretch for me. Good news though: once my boyfriend and I pay off a few things in August, we’ll be redoing our budget to include more fun and proactive activities, such as seeing my psychologist on a monthly basis.
How much money should you spend on a psychologist?
Since I brought up my financial struggles, I figured I may as well touch on this. I can’t tell you exactly how many dollars you should spend on a good psychologist. However, what I can tell you is that there are many psychologists out there who take medical insurance as partial or even full payment. There are also psychologists who will work with you (e.g. let you make your own payment plan), and there are some solo practitioners who charge based on your income. As long as you’re not breaking the bank, I say every penny is totally worth it.
Do you have to see your psychologist in person?
No, you don’t! There are so many apps and programs out there where you can see someone in person, you can speak to someone over the phone, or you can even use video streaming. Some people don’t like leaving the comfort of their own home, and that’s totally OK! Do your research and figure out what the best options are for you!
What was the best and worst part about seeing a psychologist?
The best part was that I finally found an outlet where it’s OK for me to go on and on about my problems. Of course my family and friends are always supportive, but I started feeling guilty for piling all my problems on their already-busy lives. There’s nothing like having a professional who GETS PAID to listen to you ramble. A good psychologist will guide you, explore your emotions and help you make the necessary decisions to get better.
If you can allow yourself to open up, then that’ll be the biggest hurdle. Although, my psychologist did mention that there will be harder sessions to come, where I’ll have to confront my deepest fears and even participate in helpful exercises at home (homework, basically). I’m already at a place where I KNOW I want to get better, so I’ve already mentally prepared myself. If I had to choose, I would honestly say that the worst part is that I haven’t gone back to see her yet.
What are your thoughts on therapy and have you tried it? Let’s start a conversation in the comment section.