Choosing a Psychotherapist and Psychotherapy Modality for You
Choosing which modality of psychotherapy to have or which type of psychotherapist to see often occurs almost by accident. It may come down to who you are referred to by your General Practitioner or who might be recommended to you by a friend or relative. This can be far from optimal as different psychotherapists and psychiatrists may work in different ways and be helpful under different circumstances.
Therefore, finding a matching psychotherapist for your needs can present a challenge; particularly when you are not even sure what you may need help with to alleviate your symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is also true that when it comes to finding a psychotherapist who is a “good fit” you may need to have an assessment with more than one practitioner before you find a practitioner who suits you.
Often the reason it can be difficult to find the right practitioner is that you may be seeking help from a therapist who treats people with methods that are not applicable to your mental health concerns. When they say they can’t help you,or that you need to be referred on, it may feel as though there is something very difficult to treat about your mental health, but this can be a mistake.
Psychotherapy is intensely personal. You may want or need a psychotherapist or psychiatrist who specialises in short-term behavioural methods because you feel that you need help getting through a current crisis. You may have had an increase in anxiety which is manageable but is decreasing your quality of life. Strategies for how to regulate your anxiety using breathing or muscle relaxation methods or meditation may be what you seek and not all psychotherapists will include this in their therapy. It is important to discuss your needs with your practitioner early in your treatment so everyone is on the same page.
If you have been referred to a psychiatrist for talking psychotherapy, for instance, you may find that behavioural strategies are not a part of the treatment information that will be provided by that practitioner.
On the other hand, you may have tried a number of anxiety reduction methods and although effective, you find yourself repeating patterns in your life which lead to recurrent bouts of lowered mood. This may have been because some of your coping strategies may have been effective for you while you were growing up but now do not serve you.
I am a Psychiatrist trained both to prescribe medication for low mood and anxiety disorders but also to treat patients with cognitive and dialectical behavioural and talking therapies.
By tailoring psychotherapy to the needs of you, the patient, by considering both your current symptoms and your developmental history, it may be possible to provide greater stability in mental health over the longer term.
At all times, the choice as to which psychotherapeutic or psychiatry methods will be best suited to you, is made collaboratively.