What You Must Know Before Starting Therapy

How to find the right therapist. . . .

According to Dr. Cira, the goodness of fit is everything.  Research is clear that the #1 determining factor in whether or not a client gets better from therapy is based on how strong their relationship is with their therapist.  If you don’t like your therapist, you’re not going to get better, regardless of how well-trained they are.

  • There are many different types of therapists and levels of training: LSW’s, LCP’s, LSCW’s, LCPC’s, Psy.D. and Ph.D.  It’s important to understand what these things mean and how they are different. Only then can you figure out what’s best for you.
  • It’s important to know how you’d like to pay for your therapy sessions because that should help guide your search for a therapist and will save you a lot of time.  For instance, if you have an HMO plan, you’re going to need a referral from your Primary Care Physician (PCP), so don’t even begin looking for a therapist until you get a list from your PCP.
  • You have to know where to look.  There are several incredibly reputable websites that can help you navigate what can be a daunting search.  Knowing where to look makes this journey significantly easier.
  • You should know what you want to work on.  Do you feel really strongly that you don’t want to focus on your past and only the present?  Do you want to focus more on things that have happened to you in the past? Do you want someone to help you “solve” your problems or someone who will really sit with you in your pain or both?  These are all things you should ask yourself that will help guide your search.

 

Available for Interviews: Dr. Colleen Cira

Dr. Colleen Cira received both her Masters and Doctorate from The Illinois School of Professional Psychology and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the State of Illinois.  She’s the Founder and Executive Director of Cira Center for Behavioral Health, PC, a boutique group practice specializing in Women and Trauma with locations in Chicago and Oak Park.

She was named one of the “Top 100 Women in Chicago Making a Difference” by Today’s Chicago Woman.  Dr. Cira is a trauma and anxiety expert, clinical supervisor, writer, speaker, consultant, activist, wife, and Mommy to two little ones.

Contact:
Jo Allison
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Additional Resource:

Here are all of the different mental health therapists one can choose from:

  1. Licensed Clinical Psychologist.  This person has attended approximately 5 years of graduate school in addition to a Postdoctoral Fellowship and likely written a dissertation.  They either have a Psy.D. (Doctor of Clinical Psychology) or a Ph.D. (Doctorate of Research).  They have also earned hours for their licensing exam which they must pass if they are to legally and ethically refer to themselves as a Psychologist.  Psy.D’s are trained far more in clinical work and Ph.D.’s are typically trained far more in research.
  2. Licensed Social Worker (LSW): This person has attended approximately 2 years of graduate school and their first job after school is more of a 2 year apprenticeship where they continue to be supervised and earn hours for their licensing exam.  They are trained in some clinical work, the level depends on which school they go to, as well as issues of case management and resources.
  3. Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Same description as LSW, but they have now completed their apprenticeship AND passed their licensing exam.
  4. Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC): This person has attended approximately 2 years of graduate school and their first job after school is more of a 2 year apprenticeship where they continue to be supervised and earn hours for their licensing exam.  They are trained in mostly clinical work.
  5. Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC): Same description as LPC, but they have now completed their apprenticeship AND passed their licensing exam.
  6. Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT): This person has attended approximately 2 years of graduate school and their first job after school is more of a 2 year apprenticeship where they continue to be supervised and earn hours for their licensing exam.  They are trained in mostly clinical work with a special focus on marriage and family work.
  7. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT): Same description as AMFT, but they have now completed their apprenticeship AND passed their licensing exam.

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