October is World Mental Health Month and we are shining a light on mental-health awareness as well as sharing advice from experts on what you can do to improve your mental health, starting with finding the right therapist for your needs.
In a previous #MedshieldMovement article, we spoke to counselling therapist, Jacqui Morgan in Johannesburg, who explained that “Looking for a psychologist can feel daunting and scary and it is important to find a therapist that you feel comfortable with. To do so, you may need to visit more than one therapist to get a sense of who you connect with best.” Read more here: “How to Know When It’s Time to Seek Therapy”.
Not all therapists are the same – nor may they be appropriately trained or experienced in the field you may need. Clinical Psychologist Janie Loubser, who is based in George, but who also offers therapy sessions over Zoom, explains what the difference is between a counselling therapist (like Jacqui) and a clinical psychologist (like herself).
“A clinical psychologist is able to diagnose and treat mental health disorders,” explains Janie. “Other therapists are not necessarily able to diagnose and treat specific mental health disorders like depression. Having said that, there are counselling psychologists who are excellently trained and experienced in mental health disorders. It’s always a good idea to ask a potential therapist if they are qualified to treat your specific problem and how they will do it,” she explains.
Questions To Help You Decide If Your Therapist Is Right For You
Much like dating apps, you may need to swipe left or right a few times to find the right match. These questions will help you ascertain whether a therapist may be the right match for you.
1. Ask what the therapist’s approach to working with clients is like. Are they very active (offering guidelines/techniques/goals) or more passive and non-directive (an approach that will help you find solutions to your own problems from within)? Does their approach fit your needs?
2. Do you respect the therapist? It’s important that you respect your therapist’s opinion and that you trust them. Therapy is often complicated and challenging and having a therapist you respect will allow for a good working relationship.
3. Is the therapist an expert in the field you need them to be?
Like most doctors, psychologists have areas of expertise. Some may be relationship counselling experts or experts in trauma counselling or perhaps working with depressive and suicidal patients, while others may be more attuned to diagnosing disorders like ADHD. Like Janie recommends above – always ask the therapist if they have experience in dealing with cases like your own.
Janie Loubser describes herself as a “future-focused therapist committed to helping you find direction so that you can feel secure and excited about your future”. Visit Janieloubser.co.za for more information.
Looking for a therapist? Visit our Medshield provider network or speak to your GP for a recommendation. Not looking for a therapist, but want to improve your mental health with self-care practice at home? Read more here: “Expert Advice On Mental Health Self-Care At Home” – advice from Dr Tamsin Malengret and counselling therapist, Jacqui Morgan.