What Type of Therapist Should I Seek?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I am 28, a combat ve teran, and i have enormous trust issues and bitterness toward women, and im becoming more and more cynical by the day. While i was deployed to iraq, my wife moved out of our hoem and in with a boyfriend. The house was subsequently robbed. I came home 5 months later to a destroyed home, all of my possessions gone, Utilities all shut off, thousands of dollars in bills, and no wife. My stint in the army was up about 6 months later, so i moved to reno, and fell in with a nice woman with two small children, we were later married. Ive since come to accept that i married her entirely too soon, there are a laundry list of marital issues there, a year and a half ago, i told her that i wanted out, and wanted a divorce. Her response was “im pregnant” so i stayed. Now i have a 9 month old daughter, and told her again in july that i was leaving, because nothing had changed in the intervening time. 4 days later, her response again is. “im pregnant” Ive found myself horribly untrusting and bitter of women in general, my wife in particular. i would like to move on with my life, and recognize that these issues are not likely to change without professional help..but i have no clue what sort of therapist or counselor i should be looking for. Any help would be greatly appreciated. ~John

A. Dear John, it’s good that you recognize the need for professional help. It can be difficult to know when it’s needed. Even if an individual realizes they need help they’re not always willing to get it. The fact that you’re making this inquiry shows you’re open-minded and have a good attitude towards therapy. These are important qualities for a therapy candidate and increase the likelihood of success in treatment.

Look for a therapist or licensed counselor who specializes in relationships. I would recommend calling many different therapists, at least 5 to 10, and asking them about their experience with relationship counseling. How long have they been counseling? Do they specialize in relationship counseling? How have they treated others in similar situations? How would they characterize their therapeutic approach? Do they only see individuals or do they offer couples counseling, in which both individuals attend sessions together? Do they have a preference for either one and if so, why? What outcome could you expect? How long (rough estimate—no one knows for certain) would you need to attend counseling?

Be certain you discuss your specific circumstance. What advice do they have for you?

These are not unreasonable questions. Remember, you are looking to hire one of these individuals to deal with deeply personal aspects of your life and you need to know what to expect.

After you’ve interviewed at minimum of two or three therapists you should have a sense of who you like and who seemed the most reasonable. Choose the one you liked the best or who you felt the most comfortable interacting with.

To get started on your search for therapists try this link. You should also investigate what services are available to you because of your veteran status. As of late the U.S. government is making a renewed effort to offer mental health services to returning soldiers. In fact, President Obama specifically mentioned his commitment to mental health treatment for returning soldiers in a recent speech at the Veterans of Foreign Affairs convention in Arizona. Here is a link the U.S. Veterans Affairs national mental health website. These services should be available to you. I wish you the best of luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 Aug 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). What Type of Therapist Should I Seek?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/08/24/what-type-of-therapist-should-i-seek/