Fort Lauderdale Psychologist: Three questions to ask to find the best psychologist for your needs in Fort Lauderdale
by Seth Grossman, Psy.D.
Did you know that as many as half of all Americans needing a psychologist go entirely untreated? That may be hard to believe, especially as the once-powerful stigma of “seeing a shrink” is rapidly losing credibility and there are now so many to choose from. So many, in fact, that choosing a psychologist can feel as overwhelming as your reason to see one.If you feel challenged and confused as you try to select a great psychologist who is the right fit for your needs, read on.
If you’re like many people in Fort Lauderdale thinking of making an appointment with a psychologist, you’ve probably encountered lots of names and numbers – there are a lot of us out there! Even after you’ve narrowed it down to a few, possibly based on location, fees/insurance, and availability, how do you know who’s right for you? Here are three important questions that will help you make the bestchoice:
1. Does this psychologist seem to understand my concerns? There are two parts to this question. First, most psychologists will treat the most common mental health ailments such as anxiety, stress, and depression, but understand that your anxiety, stress, or depression is different from anyone else’s. Make sure you feel heard and understood on an individual level. You are more than a collection of symptoms, and you want to feel as though you’re not just getting treatment out of a cookbook. Second, if you are seeking help with something very specific (some examples are eating disorders, insomnia, pain management, personality disorders), make sure that your psychologist has some specialization in that area. This, too, makes the difference between “run of the mill” ineffective treatment, and a potential life-changing experience.
2. Does he/she take a personal interest in me? It’s a sad reality that the current healthcare market is a market, and with managed care and the current economy, everyone from your general practitioner to your specialist is pressured to see more patients in less time for less money. This unfortunately has some healthcare professionals overtaxed and distracted from doing their best work. Regardless of this, you deserve undivided attention and clear, consistent quality treatment. Psychological treatment is an investment in your well-being – one of the most important investments you can make. Make sure your psychologist is invested in you, too.
3. Do I feel comfortable with this person, in this place? In order for your investment in yourself to even begin to work, you need to feel comfortable enough to bring up some troubling thoughts, emotions, and experiences. You’ll want to trust that your psychologist will always act ethically and responsively in your best interest, challenging you when appropriate while never leaving you feel unsafe with your concerns. To help figure out the answer, take some cues from your overall experience, including the initial phone or email contact, the professionalism and “feel” of the staff and the office environment, and your best “gut” response to your interactions with your psychologist. Most importantly, ask yourself what I call the Core, Make-or-Break Question: “Do I feel that I can be comfortable beinguncomfortable here?”
While it may still take some legwork and research on your part to narrow down the many choices you have, these guidelines can be the fine-tooth comb that makes the difference between some temporary, superficial relief and an experience that can free you from limitations and distress and move youtoward a life of resilience.
Seth Grossman, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist and director of The Center for Psychological Fitness in Cooper City, FL, just a short drive west of Fort Lauderdale. He and his colleagues cover many specialty areas and services and are dedicated to a holistic, personalized approach to finding your best path to meet your needs. Visit www.psychfitness.com or call 954.434.1886 to start your journey today.