Finding The Right Mental Health Counselor

mental health counselor

The numerous factors in play when we talk about mental health can be dizzying. You might be worried about insurance, trying to overcome the stigma of seeking help, or unsure of where to start your search for the right mental health counselor. Read on for tips on how to navigate this complicated but necessary process.

Take Stock

This is the first step in determining the course of action you want to take, once you’ve decided you want to seek assistance.

You are the best person to identify what you are struggling with. Even if you do not know the name of what you are experiencing, take stock of your symptoms and write them down. Some issues may be clearer cut than others, such as identifying an eating disorder, but you may not always be able to distinguish certain mental health issues from others.

It is important to remember that you do not have to diagnose yourself or find a term that encompasses what you are experiencing. Merely evaluate what issues you are struggling with, so you know what to bring up in conversation with your doctor or mental health counselor.

Speak To Your Primary Care Doctor

If you see a primary care doctor, they should be one of the first resources you turn to.

You shouldn’t have to start your search for a mental health counselor by looking on the internet for practices in your area. You should first consult your doctor and explain what you are suffering from. Your doctor can determine if you need to be referred to an outside mental health counselor. They can also explain to you the benefits of mental health counseling and direct you to a specific counselor or practice depending on the issues you describe.

Understand What Your Insurance Covers

The cost of seeking a mental health counselor can be a barrier for some people. Many mental health counselors and practices take insurance, though this varies from practice to practice and depends if you are seeing a therapist or psychiatrist.

You can often find out if a counselor takes your insurance simply by calling the practice or checking online with your own insurance provider. Each insurance plan is unique, however, so you should check with your provider to find out the specifics of their coverage. Know what your plan covers and does not cover so you do not face unexpectedly high costs once you begin working with a mental health counselor.

Know The Difference: Therapists Versus Psychiatrists

Therapists and psychiatrists execute similar but distinct roles. Whether or not you decide to seek one or the other, or both, may be a decision you want to make yourself or one that you may consult your primary care doctor about.

The most important distinction is that psychiatrists can prescribe medication, while therapists do not. Some psychiatrists provide both therapeutic talk therapy and can prescribe medication, but therapists do not do this. Therapists can often refer you to a psychiatrist if you wish to go on medication, but therapists themselves do not prescribe medication.

If you know from the outset that you would like to manage your mental health through medication, you may want to seek a psychiatrist. Some patients will begin seeing a therapist for talk therapy and decide they want to go on medication in conjunction with therapy, or some patients will only go to therapy and never see a psychiatrist. You don’t have to know going in what you want to do. You can ask your doctor or call practices such as Fifth Street Counseling Center to receive more information about what treatment combination is right for you.

The Debate Of Medicating Or Not

It is not always obvious what the best mental health treatment is for you. Some mental health counselors will recommend using medication to manage certain conditions, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or ADHD, among others. However, therapy may be the primary method of treating other conditions such as depression or anxiety. Some people may respond best to both therapy and medication depending on their needs or if they suffer from multiple mental health concerns.

Learn More About Counseling

Fifth Street Counseling Center provides an individualized approach to mental health care. We currently offer video counseling services to connect clients with their mental health counselors remotely over Zoom, a confidential video-conferencing platform. Give us a call today at 954-797-5222 to find out more about our services and what we can do for you.

We accept Medicaid and all major insurance and we offer affordable self-pay rates.

Garry Smith

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