Carolina Counseling Services - 12 Reasons to See a Licensed Therapist FIRST (before a Psychiatrist)
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12 Reasons to See a Licensed Therapist FIRST (before a Psychiatrist)
Deciding to seek professional assistance is a big, brave step. Acknowledging that what you are experiencing can be better managed with help takes courage. There is no question that the desire to have an improved life is your motivation, which is why you expect that the decision will take you there. Faced with this situation, you are likely to wonder: who is the right mental health professional to seek help from – a licensed therapist or a psychiatrist?
Most see this as a gray area because therapy and psychiatry are overlapping professions. Though both specialize in “the mind” and how it affects behavior, emotions, thoughts, and well-being, there are differences in their academic background and how they do their jobs. In certain instances, these professionals work together to prevent, diagnose and treat symptoms. In most cases, however, the first stop is to see a therapist.
If you are in need of a mental/behavioral health professional, it is logical to see a licensed therapist first for these 12 reasons:
- Psychiatric help is a last resort, not the first. Even most medical professionals agree that there is no reason to use psychotropic medications if you can get better with therapy. Therapists have a lot of tools and strategies to help you modify your lifestyle, manage your reactions or control your moods, making you feel and think better.
- Therapists can assess your symptoms to determine the kind of help you need. Therapists are trained and licensed to evaluate your symptoms in order to identify the root of your symptoms. If you don’t really need psychotropic medications, there is no need to see a psychiatrist. They can refer you to one if there is a perceived need.
- Seeing a therapist is an “easy” first step. If you are weighed down by life concerns – parenting, marital conflict, overwhelm in the work place, etc. - seeing a friendly therapist who can help you sort out what is really needed is an easier first step. Psychiatrists are usually focused on prescribing medications only – not helping you sort out your life or what you may need/want.
- Therapists can spend more time with you. There is a shortage of psychiatrists in most areas of the United States, which means they can only spend 5 to15 minutes with you to follow up medication management. Therapists can spend more time with you, so you don’t feel rushed to talk about your concerns.
- Some psychiatrists require their new patients to get a referral from a therapist. Because of the demand for psychiatrists, they generally prefer that you come with a referral from a therapist as this means there has been an initial work done with you, specifically an assessment of your symptoms. This helps them do their work with more efficiency in less time. Many Psychiatrists also prefer that their patients are “under the care” of a therapist for ongoing issues that they themselves have no time to discuss/resolve.
- Therapists present a “safety net” to the psychiatric patients. Psychiatrists have to see so many patients they can’t spare any additional time with clients needing therapy. Thus, therapists are the psychiatrists’ allies. Thus, most of them would also refer you to a therapist if you are in need of therapy.
- They can help you adhere to your medications. Because the therapist spends more time with you, they know you better and you tend to trust them more. Most psychiatrists understand this special bond, so they are likely to encourage you (and their other patients) to see a therapist for support and to increase their compliance to their medications.
- Counselors can help you make a decision. Aside from assessing your signs and symptoms, therapists will also discuss with you the treatment options. If your manifestations are making you dysfunctional and would require the use of psychotropic medications, therapists can present you options and help you make an informed decision.
- Therapists can lead you to good psychiatrists. If your therapist deems that it is necessary that you are prescribed certain medications, they can refer you to a psychiatrist whom they believe can help you best. In their line of work, they move in one small circle where everyone knows everyone.
- Therapists can co-manage your case with a psychiatrist, should there be a need. If you would benefit from a co-management, your therapist may refer you to a psychiatrist. If you trust your therapist, they may also suggest someone who isn’t only a good fit for you, but someone they have a good working relationship as well.
- Therapy offers wellness without the side effects of psychotropic medicines. Who wants medications and their side effects when you can feel better without using them? Psychiatrists are best known for treating their patients using medications. If you feel your concern is something that can be handled with therapy, a therapist can help you.
- Seeing a therapist is more budget-friendly. If you have no insurance, or a high deductible or copay, the consultation fee of a psychiatrist is way, way above the fee of a therapist, not to mention the cost of the psychotropic medicines you have to take for months, if not years. On the average, psychiatrists may charge $250 on the first appointment, which may last for 45-50 minutes, and about $85 on the succeeding follow-ups and med management, which typically last for 5 to 15 minutes. On the other hand, a 60-minute appointment with a therapist may only cost $100 or less. (Please note that many insurances pay for the whole/most/part amount of the session, whether with a therapist or psychiatrist. You may want to check with your insurance company).
If you feel like things have been rough for you lately and you are considering about finding assistance from a professional, make sure that your first stop isn’t just any therapist. If you are in North Carolina, call Carolina Counseling Services in Fayetteville to find help from one of the independently contracted therapists.
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Confidential / Private Sessions
Carolina Counseling Services contracts independently with Licensed professional counselors/therapists/psychologists who provide a friendly, relaxed atmosphere to everyone. Carolina Counseling Services independently contracted therapists assist individuals, couples, families, and children with counseling services that will help put your life back on track. Working with both non military and military is a joy and the therapist you choose will be happy to assist you whether you are a "civilian", or if you are a dependent or retiree.
Counseling and Therapy are often used interchangeably in our English language. The same is true for Counselor and Therapist. It really doesn't matter which word you use. When you need help, it is best to talk to someone who is not only objective, but who has had lots of experience helping others who have been in similar situations as yourself. A friendly Counselor or Therapist who is trained, licensed and experienced is the one who can assist the most. You don't have to figure it out alone. All independently contracted therapists are licensed, friendly professionals. Call to schedule your appt now!
If we can't help you, we will be happy to refer you to someone who can. We look forward to assisting you!!!.
Evening and Weekend Appts Available with specific therapists
Evening and Weekend appointments: We have therapists available for appointments from 8am to 8pm Monday through Friday. Some therapists have Saturday appointments available if requested.
Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services
Counties: Cumberland, Hoke, Bladen, Sampson, and Robeson Counties, NC
Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Hope Mills NC, Raeford NC, Rockfish NC, Sliver City NC, Cedar Creek NC, Bowmore NC, Autryville NC, Parkton NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Broadway NC, Pineview NC, Lumber Bridge, NC, Rex NC, Lemon Springs NC, Johnsonville NC, Eastover NC, Stedman NC and Wade, NC.
Military Community areas: Ardennes NC Bataan NC, Casablanca NC, Anzio Acre, NC, Corregidor NC, Bougainville NC, Hammond Hills NC, Nijimegen NC, Cherbourg NC, Normandy NC, Bastogne NC, Pope NC, Ste Mere Eglise NC,
Zip Codes: 28301, 28302, 28303, 28304, 28305, 28306, 28307, 28309, 28311, 28312, 28314