You Are At: AllSands Home > Howto > Finding a therapist
Shrinks. Therapists. Counselors. Psychologists. No matter what you call them, these compassionate professionals help people with mental and emotional disorders or problems. Yet when you're the one with the emotional disorder or problem, it is sometimes difficult to make the decision to seek professional help.

The main reason for this is because people associate professional help with, "Wow, something is really wrong with that person!" Most of the time, the person with the disorder or problem is not some "psycho", as many label it, but more so, someone going through a rough time. We are all prone to mental anguish, and admitting that we need help when we face it is the most responsible and beneficial thing to do.

You don't even need a "disorder" to go to therapy anymore. Nowadays, seeking psychological help is more widely accepted. Most insurance plans cover mental care. People are now realizing that the mind is as sensitive as the body, and it needs care as well.

So, you think you may have a problem. Maybe you've had more than your fair share of the "blues". Or maybe you've had some nightmares about a traumatic event. Whatever the problem is, there are three steps to assessing your emotional and mental health needs.

First, decide if it is a problem at all. If you have been sad over the past week since your mother has died, that grieving is a natural process, and not an immediate emergency. Yet, if after months you cannot shake the sad feelings, you may want to consider getting some assistance. Don't worry, you aren't going to a looney bin! If you were, you'd have already been there.

Second, if you have decided to seek help, there are many forms available to you. You can see a licensed social worker, a therapist/psychologist, or a psychiatrist. The best bet is to seek a psychologist out first. A psychiatrist is a mental health doctor that can prescribe medication. If you have been having severe panic attacks, you may need medication to ease your body for a while, so going to a psychiatrist may be the best bet.

The third step is to make the appointment, and go for a visit. Remember that if you do not feel comfortable, you do not have to stick with that therapist or counselor. And most of all, one bad therapist does not mean the rest are that bad. Look around, make some calls, write some e-mails-- find the perfect person for you. They are out there.

Okay, so you're not wacked out, and you may not even be going through a rough time. You may not have an anxiety disorder and you may not be depressed. But you still feel the need to talk.

There is always help for you. Maybe your issue may be a career change, or marriage counseling. Those are forms of therapy that do not cater to an emotional disorder or problem, but to an issue that is important and may need professional assistance.

Whatever choice you make, it is important to realize that going to therapy is not a bad thing. It doesn't mean you have to check into a psycho-ward, and it doesn't mean you're weak. Going to therapy means you are strong, educated and aware enough to know that your mind is as delicate as your body. And you are brave enough to take care of yourself, body and mind.