There are those who, knowing that they need to attend psychotherapy, do not dare launch themselves into it simply because they find it difficult to find a psychologist who suits their needs .

However, the truth is that although some people may find this process intimidating, it is not as complicated as one might think, even in countries where these types of services are not very well regulated. Finding a mental health professional is, among other things, thanks to the Internet, becoming easier and more accessible to all kinds of audiences.

In the following lines we will see several advices on how to find a psychologist who will attend our case in a personalized way, taking into account his knowledge and our main specific needs .

How do I find a psychologist to treat me? 7 steps

Follow these guidelines to find a psychologist or a team of psychologists at a psychology center that fits your needs.

1. Determine the severity and nature of your problem

In practice, even if a psychologist sees that he or she cannot work with a case like the one you are presenting, he or she will advise you in the best possible way so that you can be treated by someone who does specialize in that kind of problem. However, if you take a little time to think about what’s going on with you, you’re more likely to get it right the first time (bearing in mind that you probably don’t have an objective and realistic view of what’s really going on, and that it’s normal that even you’re wrong about this).

So, ask yourself. The first is what kind of problem you have: is it something that has mainly to do with your social relationships, or does it affect only you in a relatively isolated way? Does it have to do with your feelings, your perception of things, or both? Is it something automatic, or something that has to do with the way you make decisions?

The second question is to what extent is it serious, what is the intensity of your discomfort or of those who come into contact with you.

Depending on these issues, you will later need to seek out psychologists with one or another specialization, and with more or less demanding experience requirements depending on your availability and your ability to arrange therapy sessions with them.

2. Set your spending limit

You have to be realistic and think long term, taking into account that you will need several hours of work from the psychologist. Therefore, take into account all the expenses that this reasonable amount of hours will entail for you, including apparently minor aspects such as transportation costs , and set a maximum amount of money to devote to this.

3. Decide if you are looking for face-to-face, online or mixed therapy

Many psychologists offer the possibility of attending to their patients through the Internet, by video call or similar. So, depending on your needs, decide if you are looking for just one of two ways to attend therapy, you will do well in both, depending on the circumstances. This step to find a psychologist is also related to the one we will see below.

4. Make a first selection of psychologists

If you are interested in face-to-face therapy, you can specifically look for mental health professionals working in your neighbourhood or city , either in their own practice or psychotherapy office, or at home. A very useful tool for finding these professionals is the directories of psychologists, like this one, which works to search for psychologists in Spain. If you live in another country, here are other directories: one for Mexico, and another for Colombia. You can also do Google searches, although in this case you may find it a little more difficult to compare.

At first, it is good to look at two main criteria: price and location (the latter especially in case you are not interested in online therapy). Once this first filtering has been done, you can go on to see the type of specializations you are looking for in a psychotherapy professional, the ages of the patients he or she attends, their languages, etc.

5. Make sure they have the official qualifications to practice

Check that the people you have selected in the first sweep have their membership numbers in the Official College of Psychologists of their country, which will guarantee that they have completed the training path that qualifies them to practice psychological intervention in clinical or health settings.

6. Check their specialties

Do not only look at what the person says he specializes in: check that he has the postgraduate degrees that have given him a basis of experience and theoretical foundations in these clinical fields . Bear in mind that the courses and workshops may only last for one weekend, while to receive the title of Expert, many more hours are needed, and to obtain a Master’s degree, at least one year must be invested.

On the other hand, you can also check if the professional has taken a general program, or a more specialized one focused on what you are looking for.

7. Choose a few professionals and ask

In this last phase of the search, you can find out more about the services offered. If you have any doubts, which is likely, ask, but choose well what you are looking for answers to and formulate your doubts by getting to the point; reading large texts in which someone who is not a client describes his or her problems and looks for answers to everything is not to anyone’s taste and, in any case, your problems can only be explored in depth in the evaluation phase , in the first sessions.

So, from this last step, you should be able to choose.

Bibliographic references:

  • Ardila, R. (2004). Psychology in the Future. Madrid: Pirámide.
  • Morris, C. (1997). Introduction to Psychology. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.