ABH Maryland

How To Choose The Right Mental Health Therapist For You


How To Choose The Right Mental Health Therapist For You

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Finding Mental Health Therapists Near You

The first step toward making a positive change in your life is acknowledgment.  Recognizing that there is a problem and making the commitment to address that issue shows true inner strength. And as with any strength training, you need the right coach- in this situation, a specialized mental health therapist.   

When it comes to choosing your therapist, there is certainly no shortage of therapists to choose from.  As a matter of fact, it can be somewhat overwhelming. The best place to begin to narrow down your search is to reach out to your friends and family who see a therapist.  This is a great way to find out firsthand how the therapist handles his or her patients.  Ask your friends and family what the therapist’s bedside manner is like. Are they interactive with you or do they listen and take notes?  Are they able to answer questions and give helpful insight and suggestions? It is also important to find out if the therapist returns calls and if it is hard to get regular appointments.  Another great way to begin finding the right mental health therapist is to go online and read client feedback. This will show you some of the pros and cons that patients have encountered on their visits.  Client feedback can be helpful because the opinions are coming from a variety of current and former patients.

Take into consideration the personal level of comfort that you feel when first speaking with a mental health therapist. Was your call answered by someone who had a kind voice and answers to your questions?  In the case that you left a first general message on a voicemail, was the call returned promptly?  After speaking with your first mental health office choice, find out if and when you will speak directly with the therapist on the phone.  This will give you the opportunity to see if you have a good line of communication to best address your needs. You also should also determine if the mental health therapist is patient with you during your first line of communication. Your next step will be to set up an appointment for an initial consultation.

After speaking with the office, it is also important to find out if the mental health therapist accepts your insurance while also finding out the available hours of the clinic.  The hours and insurance information will let you figure out if seeing that therapist will fit into your schedule.  

You need to be comfortable and candid with the mental health therapist in order for he or she to best help you, so don’t just “settle” on the first therapist that you speak with.  It is best to speak to at least five different mental health therapists near you to have a level of comparison, asking the same questions to each office that you speak with.

Of course, while it is ultimately up to you to find the right connection, referrals from friends and family, reading client feedback online and asking the right questions can help you begin to filter through the numerous choices of mental health therapists near you and start your search knowledgeable and empowered.  

When you think of the well-being of a child, you first think of basic needs: food, water, and shelter. Once these needs are met, however, it’s crucial for a child to have emotional and social wellness as well. In this article, we will explore the impact social wellness has on the overall health of a child and great ways for children to garner social support in their lives.

It comes as no surprise that as human beings, we all need connection with others, no matter what stage of life we are in. In fact, having social support is a social determinant of health (SDOH) that significantly impacts the health of an individual. After spending the last few years in and out of isolation due to the Covid-19 outbreak, social support is more important now than ever before. Having social support means having family members and friends you can talk to and seek advice from when life feels challenging and overwhelming. Knowing you’re not alone in your life journey, especially as a child, creates a sense of belonging and empowerment throughout one’s life.

4 Types of Social Support

Emotional Support. This type of support lets you know that people care about you and have empathy for your experiences. Emotional support often looks like people checking in on you to let you know they’re thinking of you, and that they are there if you need anything. As a parent, make sure your child knows you can be a sounding board for them. If you have family members who can also show up for your children in this way, even better!

Practical Help. This type of support is when people give you something tangible or offer a service to help you out. This could be in the form of money, making food when you are sick, or helping to pack when moving. Having family and friends show up in this way shows your child what it looks like to be present for people you love.

Sharing Points of View. This type of support can often come in the form of affirmations and encouragement. For example, pointing out your child’s strengths to them and reminding them they can do anything they put their mind to. It can also look like sharing another perspective if they are being hard on themselves. For example, if they are angry with themselves after receiving a bad grade on a test, you can help them see it as a learning experience and a way for them to grow.

Sharing Information. This type of support is when someone shares what they’ve learned from their own life experiences. For example, if another parent has a child who struggles with socializing, they can share some tips and tricks they’ve learned to help their child find and create social support.

The Importance of Social Groups and Extended Support

Children who are connected to their family, friends, and people in their community have opportunities to learn how to speak, share, and get along with others. When your child feels connected to people in your neighborhood, it often allows them to feel physically safe which can alleviate stress and worry. Simply riding bikes, going on walks, and saying hello to neighbors with your kids can create this sense of security for them.

In addition to engaging with your neighbors, getting involved in local organizations can also create social support for your child. Signing up for a sports team, musical theater, art class or summer camp are all great ways to help your child meet new friends and learn important social skills that can carry them through their lives.

Tips for Helping Kids Make Community Connections:

Spend time outside in your neighborhood playing on the playground, going to a local farmer’s market, or scheduling a playdate with neighborhood kids.

Show your kids that connection is a two-way street. If your neighbors or friends go out of town, offer to get their mail, or water their plants and take your child with you when you go. This will show your child how you show up for people you care about.

Make sure you make time for socializing with friends as well. Your child looks to you first and foremost for how they should act and live their own life.

Encourage your child to step out of their comfort zone and do something they may be scared to do. As a parent, it’s your job to push them into something social for their own well-being at times.