To seek help from a mental health professional is a big step. Today there are so many options. You have gestalt therapy, existential therapy, therapist who’s preferred method is called ‘somatic experiencing’, there’s Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), there are even methods that are centered around provoking clients. Especially in the Netherlands provocative therapy is quite popular. These are just some of the more known methods, the list is long. Some are accepted by the academic community and some are not, some might be getting obsolete, such as a classic psychoanalytic approach and some may be in full development, such as somatic experiencing, sometimes referred to as ‘body work’.

Then there’s also the question if you want to see a coach, a therapist, a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

If you feel your problem will require medication then it’s probably best to worl with a psychiatrist. Note however that a session with a psychiatrist tends to be shorter and may be more formal than with a therapist or with a psychologist who is trained in some therapeutic field. You can also combine the two. Someone suffering from schizophrenia might see a psychiatrist to get the right dose of meds and might at the same time be seeing a psychotherapist. Good to know: a psychiatrist is a physician who specialised as a psychiatrist after he or she already had a medical degree. That’s why a psychiatrist can prescribe medication.

Yes, picking a counselor can sure be daunting.

You know what the good news is?

Study after study reports that the method the counselor uses is not that important. The most healing aspect of the therapeutic process is… the relationship between the client and the mental health professional. If the client can feel loved and accepted for who he or she is in that relationship and if the therapist is genuine, has himself or herself figured out and feels at ease in his or own skin, then the relationship will be healing. It will form a basis to form other meaningful relationships outside of the therapist’s office. Studies report that clients tend to experience direct advice as not particularly helpful. It’s being fully accepted by someone who can really listen and take a client’s story in that heals. Any techniques are just the crutches to that aim.

So above all, it’s important to choose a counselor who’s the right fit for you, someone you feel at ease with, someone you can trust, someone with whom you can share absolutely anything.

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