Health Blog


Planning to See a Psychologist? Here are Things You Need to Know First

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No matter what your mental health care needs are, there are very reputable psychologists located in Montreal’s West Island you can consult with. Whether it’s stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, bipolar disorder, ADHD, you can get the help you need if you simply make that first step to see a therapist. But before you make an appointment with a professional mental health expert, take a look at the following important things you should know that can aid you in making informed decisions.

  1. The Difference Between Therapists, Psychiatrists, and Psychologists

A lot of people think that they’re all the same but they’re not. A therapist is an umbrella term to refer to many professionals including counsellors, social workers and psychotherapists. A therapist is someone people see if they need to sit and talk about their problems, and find out how best to cope with issues like anxiety, stress, marriage problems, depression and the like. Sessions with therapists typically last one hour and many patients visit their therapist once a week.

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in psychiatry. They are qualified to prescribe medications to their patients to treat any mental condition they may have. Most sessions with a psychiatrist last for around 15 minutes and patients generally see them once a month to monitor their condition.

Psychologists, on the other hand, are often considered as therapists because they too have many functions and specialties. But what makes psychologists different is that they are trained and equipped in handling complex diagnoses like autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, and learning disabilities.

  1. Benefits of Seeing a Mental Health Practitioner

If this is your first time to see a psychologist, you may be wondering if doing so is actually going to benefit you. Will your depression or anxiety be alleviated? Will you feel better after your session? These questions are fairly common among first-time patients.

The truth is that the success of the therapy will depend not only on your therapist’s qualifications but also on your professional relationship. Do you have a good rapport with your mental health care provider? Do you “click”? If you trust your psychologist and you look forward to each session, then there’s a very good chance that you will get a positive outcome from your treatment.

On the other hand, if you dread each session or you dislike your psychologist, then it may be high time to look for another one.

  1. Finding a Good Psychologist

Finding a psychologist can seem difficult because you can’t exactly get recommendations from people you know, unless you have friends who are going around telling everyone, “Hey I’m seeing a therapist and he’s really good.”

I would recommend that you start by checking online directories for psychologists near you. You can then pick from the list of options and then read patient reviews on the Internet to find out what they think of the psychologist. Then call to make an appointment. On your first meeting, you should be able to get a good idea on whether or not you’ll continue seeing your psychologist.

I know that there are many people who really hesitate to get help. They keep making excuses – I don’t have the time… I can always do it later. But if you need help (or your family/friends tell you that you do) then you should do it as soon as possible. It may seem scary to reach out and admit that you need help but there’s no shame in it. It only means you have finally realized and accepted that there’s an issue you need to deal with, as soon as possible.