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   Choosing a Psychologist

So, you have decided to seek the assistance of a psychologist.  The next question is, how do you decide who to see? 

Here are some steps to take:


1.  Talk to friends and family that you trust.  Some of them may have seen a psychologist and be able to offer some suggestions.

2.  Ask your family physician, pediatrician, psychiatrist, or other medical professional.  They often have had interactions with psychologists in the past and can offer some names.

3.  Check with the referral service for the Psychologists' Association of Alberta for people who work in the area in which you are interested.  Note that this is an advertising service, and having your name listed under one of the areas does not guarantee expertise in the area.

4. Look at other online advertising sites, such as HealthLocal, Psychology Today, or Theravive. Read what the therapists have written about themselves and their approach.

5.  Call and ask to speak with the psychologist for 5 minutes.  Most of us are willing to take a couple of minutes to speak with you as part of your process of deciding who to see. Research into therapy outcomes indicates that regardless of the type of therapy used, the strength of the professional relationship between the therapist and client is one of the most important factors in predicting success in therapy - if you do not feel good about the person on the other end of the phone, try calling some other people before making a decision.

6. Check online ratings, but be cautious about them. People may be more likely to give an online rating if they are dissatisfied, and when they are dissatisfied, the tone of the rating may be very harsh. Also be aware that our professional code prohibits us from seeking endorsements from clients for psychological services. If you are asked for an endorsement or testimonial that psychologist is acting outside our professional regulations. And ... if you decide to spontaneously provide a rating online, please remember that we are real people too. Most of us prefer that both gratitude and criticisms be provided to us directly.


Extra Links

Psychologists' Association of Alberta        College of Alberta Psychologists       Canadian Psychological Association


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