Acknowledging that you're having a hard time is a huge first step, you're amazing for taking your mental health into consideration! It can be intimidating to reach out, I hope this resource will help you gain a greater understanding of the available options, as well as find a kind & supportive professional team!
Need help immediately?
Please call a volunteer help line or go to your local emergency room.
What types of therapy are available & what is the difference between a Therapist & Psychiatrist?
- Life/Wellness coach, Art Therapy, Independant Counsellors
( Unlicensed Counsellor )
If not seeking a referral through your general practitioner, it's important to verify the credentials of any professional you seek out. Social worker spend 6 years in school, a psychologist spends 8 - 12 years to learn how to help you treat & manage your problems. It's important to be aware of your support teams credentials, in different countries a holistic business may advertise as a "therapy" without the appropriate credentials. The services of a wellness coach may be beneficial to some with minor issues or as additional support; for those really struggling with mental health problems finding a qualified therapist is important.
( Licensed therapist, Social worker )
Individual or Couples Counselling, Family therapy, Group therapy
Involves all forms of therapy that involve speaking to a therapist in multiple sessions over time. Focus on interpersonal issues, attachment style, thoughts & feelings, childhood experiences & behavior patterns. May range from short term counselling to more involved varieties of goal oriented modalities designed to tackle different issues such as CBT, REBT, CPT, DBT, SCHEMA, ACT, MBSR, EMDR.
A psychologist is not able to write prescriptions, but may recommended a patient see a psychiatrist in order to receive medications. Sessions are generally 50 minutes in length. Frequency & number of appointments are decided on an individual basis, ranging anywhere from 6-12 weekly sessions or monthly sessions for multiple years.
( Licensed Psychiatrist )
Diagnosis & Medication
Patients with symptoms linked to chemical imbalances, that can not be treated with talk therapy alone- such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar, ADHD & chronic anxiety/depression, are referred to a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness using medication. They will assess you and prescribe medication, after which sessions usually consist of monitoring symptoms and making adjustments to doses or drugs. They are not trained in treating patients using talk therapy and usually only work with patients requiring medication, they often refer patients to a psychotherapist for additional treatment.
When should I seek professional help?
- Experiencing mood swings or extreme shifts in energy levels.
- Having destructive & harmful thoughts towards self or others.
- Withdrawing / isolating from other, hobbies & regular enjoyable activities.
- Relying on substance abuse or problematic dependencies to cope.
- Strained or disconnected friendships & relationships with others.
- Struggling to maintain steady employment & income.
- Reoccurring headaches/migraines, stomach-aches or a rundown immune system.
- Past trauma or current stressful life changes or events.
- You want a place to practice assertiveness, expressing emotion & setting boundaries.
What happens in the first session? How can I be prepared for my first appointment?
Finding a Local Professional
Kati Morton - "What happens during a first therapy appointment?"
Hailey Platt - "What To Expect When Seeing A Psychologist For The First Time"
Deep Eddy Psych - "How to Prepare for Your First Therapy Session"
Healthyplace.com - "How to handle your first psychiatric appointment"
Psychcentral.com - "My first trip to the psychiatrist"
Mdjunction.com - "First psychologist appointment? What to expect"
Cpa.ca - "What to Expect from a Psychologist"
Healthworkscollective.com - "How to Prepare for Your First Visit to a Psychologist"
Verywellmind.com - "How to Make Your Visit at a New Psychiatrist Go Well"
Psych.on.ca - "What happens on my first visit to a psychologist?"
Psychologytoday.com - "21 Tips for Clients in Psychotherapy"