How to Find the Type of Therapy You Need

Medical “house calls” were not unusual in the 1950s when I was a boy. I had the good fortune of receiving assistance from physicians who came to my family home once or twice.

Times have changed. No more house calls, but we often choose MDs and therapists as we did 65 years ago.

If you ask a close friend about their counselor, the answer will often lead you to your companion’s practitioner. You can also consult your primary care physician, but their knowledge of colleagues outside their specialty is not always as complete as you might hope.

The unspoken assumption many counseling shoppers make is that all “therapists” are equally capable of treating whatever psychological or emotional distress ails you. However, the actual talents and education of psychologists, psychiatric social workers, marriage and family therapists, and psychiatrists can be a mystery.

Think about it. If you look at a hospital’s list of medical departments, for example, you find many disciplines, some of which you might not be able to define. Similarly, if you consult a list of different therapies and medications, you could spend an impossible amount of time figuring out who to call and what to do.

I am not advising you to ignore the suggestions of your dear friend or physician. Nonetheless, I encourage you to consider the kind of therapy best designed to fit your condition. An essential factor will be to find out if it is effective.

If this is your choice, one website to look at is the Society of Clinical Psychology: Division 12 of the American Psychological Association. Its introductory statement is this, in part:

The field of Clinical Psychology involves … the applications of principles, methods, and procedures for … alleviating intellectual, emotional, biological, psychological, social and behavioral maladjustment, disability and discomfort, applied to a wide range of client populations.

In particular, pay attention to the Society’s guide to diagnostic categories and other treatment targets.

The names of the conditions you find there are relatively common, including  Anorexia Nervosa, Chronic Headache, Depression, Mixed Anxiety Conditions, and 25 others: https://div12.org/diagnoses/.

When you click on one of the named maladies, it will provide further information about specific treatments subjected to scientifically rigorous evaluation to verify effectiveness.

There are numerous lists of practitioners on this website and elsewhere on the web who typically describe the conditions they treat and, less often, the types of methods they use.

If you contact those individuals, it will be helpful to know their skill level and experience in using such “evidence-based” remedies as the ones found by clicking one of the 29 links listed by Division 12 (above).

Your friend’s counselor might even be one of them.

Good luck!

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The two photos above display the recent work of the outstanding photographer Laura Hedien, with her permission: Laura Hedien Official Website. Both date from this year. The first was taken in the Italian Dolomites, while the second is from Burano, Veneto, Italy.

I should also disclose that I receive no compensation for promoting the American Psychological Association or Division 12. As noted elsewhere on this site, however, I am a retired Clinical Psychologist and member of the APA. My conviction about the value of scientifically established, evidence-based treatment is my own.