Top questions to ask a new therapist or counselor in Alpharetta

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It's the middle of the night and you've decided what you're doing to cope with feeling overwhelmed and anxious isn't working. You know it's time to find a therapist or counselor in Alpharetta and you've taken steps to look for possible therapists in your area, now what?

If you’ve found a couple of therapists you’re considering, here are some questions to ask to help you narrow it down.

Specialty

  • Does the therapist or counselor specialize in your concern or challenge? All therapists and counselors have had basic training in a broad range of mental health issues, but like most professions, one may have more training or interest in an area more than others.  What if you have significant anxiety about cancer recurrence when you go for your annual oncologist appointment? Or maybe you’re stressed and overwhelmed because you’re part of the sandwich generation caring for an aging parent while you’re still driving your kids everywhere. Would it be helpful to work with someone who gets it?
  • Sharing your situation with a potential therapist or counselor can help you both decide if it’s a good fit.

Location

  • Where is the office? Is it in Alpharetta close to work or home? Or is it further away in Norcross, Brookhaven, Cumming, or Atlanta? 

Availability

  • What appointment times are available?  Do you need mornings or early afternoon before the kids get home from school, or do you need a lunchtime or after work appointment?

Frequency

  • How often does the therapist typically see people and for how long? Weekly therapy often helps clients and therapists connect more quickly and get down to work so you can feel better sooner and not be in therapy forever.  Spacing out sessions every 2-4 weeks might work better for your time and budget, but sessions become more of a check in to catch up, rather than working on the deeper issues that are keeping you from feeling better.  People who see a therapist sporadically are often in therapy longer than people who invest in weekly sessions.

Finances

  • Therapy is an investment.  Are you able to self-pay or do you need someone who takes your insurance?  Would you consider using out of network benefits for the right person? Think about how much you are willing and able to invest in yourself each week and for what period of time to feel better.  

Prioritize

  • How much will you stretch for the right fit?  Is it worth the money and distance to invest in yourself and have a therapist who “gets it” and has helped others with similar issues?

Therapists and counselors want to help you find the right person for you.  Don't be afraid to ask questions and consider multiple options.  This is an investment in yourself and finding the right person is important.  If you need more support, feel free to call me at 678-827-2111 for a free 15 minute consultation.  I’d be happy to listen, answer your questions and help you find the right person.  If you are looking for someone to help you with anxiety, cancer, chronic illness or caregiving, you can read more about me on my website, www.karenwhiteheadcounseling.com.

 

 

 

Karen Whitehead, MS. LMSW

Karen Whitehead, MS, LMSW specializes in helping overwhelmed and anxious adults and caregivers with stress, cancer or chronic illness reduce anxiety, sleep better, and enjoy life. Serving Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Cumming, Dunwoody and greater Atlanta.

How to find a therapist or counselor in Alpharetta?

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When you decide you’re ready to engage in therapy or counseling, it can be so confusing - In Alpharetta, Cumming, Johns Creek, Norcross, and greater Atlanta there are therapists, social workers, counselors, psychotherapists, marriage and family therapists, psychiatrists and psychologists.

What do all the letters mean (PsyD, MD, LMSW, LCSW, LPC, LMFT)?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors (MD) who evaluate, diagnose and treat mental illness and can prescribe psychiatric medications.  There are some that also provide talk therapy, but because appointments are typically spaced out in weeks or months, it’s a good idea to have a therapist or counselor as well.

Psychologists (PsyD), Licensed Social Workers (LMSW/LCSW), Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC), and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) can all evaluate and treat mental illness, provide talk therapy, support and feedback, and teach coping strategies such as mindfulness.  Therapy/therapist, counseling/counselor, and psychotherapy/psychotherapist are general terms used by licensed professionals that may indicate their style or approach.

The biggest difference comes in the approach. 

Therapy may be short or long term, focused on a remedying a particular issue or concern such as anxiety, grief or family challenges, involve past history and relationships with your family or friends, identify patterns of thinking, and/or take into account your environment, relationships, and circumstances.

Generally speaking, many people use counseling/counselor and therapy/therapist interchangeably so it’s important to ask any prospective clinician about his/her practice and approach to determine if it is a good fit.

How do I find someone in Alpharetta, Johns Creek, or Norcross? 
It’s a little like dating!

  • Think about the demographics – would you be more comfortable talking to a man or a woman, someone older, younger, or about the same age as you are?  Is it important to have some who shares the same race or ethnicity? Do you want someone who practices from a certain religious perspective?
  • Check with family, friends, and trusted providers in the Alpharetta area to see if there is anyone they recommend.
  • Use Psychology Today, Good Therapy, and Google to search your area and identify possible therapists and counselors who fit your criteria.  
  • Check out clinicians’ websites, pictures, professional Facebook pages, etc.  Do they look friendly, like someone you can talk to?  Do you connect with their website or posts?
  • Many therapists and counselors offer free brief consultations – take advantage of this.  If you have a phone conversation, how does it feel?  Did the person listen and help you to feel at ease?

It’s normal to feel a little anxious and uneasy about calling a therapist for the first time.

Keep in mind, the therapist or counselor wants you to find the help you need whether it is with them or not.  They may ask you some questions such as: what prompted you to call or how long have you had panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or feelings of being overwhelmed.

If it feels like a good fit on the phone, schedule a session.  If you don’t feel a connection, let the therapist know.  He/she can help you find someone to meet your needs.

If you're wondering if you need a therapist or counselor in Alpharetta, Johns Creek, or Norcross check out this blog. In my next blog I’ll share some questions to ask a potential counselor or therapist in the Alpharetta area.

If you’re interested in learning more about whether I might be a good fit for you, please contact me at 678-827-2111 for a free 15 minute phone consultation.

Karen Whitehead, MS. LMSW

Karen Whitehead, MS, LMSW specializes in helping overwhelmed and anxious adults and caregivers with stress, cancer or chronic illness reduce anxiety, sleep better, and enjoy life. Serving Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Cumming, Dunwoody and greater Atlanta.

How do you know if you need a therapist or counselor in Alpharetta, Johns Creek or Norcross?

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Have you been to downtown Alpharetta lately? 

Wow!  You may be longing for better weather when you can browse the new shops at Avalon, sample some fresh produce at the Alpharetta Farmer’s Market, or enjoy a meal at one of the new restaurants on Main Street. 

Living in this beautiful, upscale area doesn’t mean life is easy. 

In fact, you may find that your struggles are amplified when you see all the “perfect” people around you. 

Or, you may not get out much because:

  • You’re stressed all the time
  • You have too much to do
  • You aren’t sleeping well
  • It seems all you do is drive your kids from one place to another
  • Your aging parents are requiring more attention
  • You’re dealing with cancer or a chronic illness or caregiving for someone who is

Deciding it’s time to start therapy or counseling often starts with trying to find a quick fix.  Maybe you’ve talked to friends, read self-help articles or books, searched online in the middle of the night for ways to cope with being so overwhelmed and tired, or tried one of the many meditation or mindfulness apps because you heard that could help,

BUT…. you’re still not feeling better.

Or maybe you don’t have any idea what to do to get out of your funk or you’re on edge, snarky and irritable, and not sure how you’re going to take care of everything you need to do. 

If you’re at a point where you feel you can’t add another thing to your plate, meeting with a therapist can help. 

In under an hour a week, you can gain some perspective, support, tools, and strategies to lighten your load and cope with the crap life keeps throwing your way. 

Finding the right support can make all the difference.

I hope this is helpful as you think about whether it’s time to find a therapist or counselor in Alpharetta, Johns Creek, or Norcross.  If you’re ready to take the next step, call me at 678-827-2111 for a free 15 minute consultation.  I’d be happy to listen and help you find the right therapist for your needs.  If you are looking for someone to help you with anxiety, cancer, chronic illness or caregiving you can read more about me on my website, www.karenwhiteheadcounseling.com.

Watch for my next blog to learn How to Find a Therapist in Alpharetta.

 

 

Karen Whitehead, MS. LMSW

Karen Whitehead, MS, LMSW specializes in helping overwhelmed and anxious adults and caregivers with stress, cancer or chronic illness reduce anxiety, sleep better, and enjoy life. Serving Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Cumming, Dunwoody and greater Atlanta.