View Full Version : What to look for a psychologist


alphalpha
09-13-16, 04:15 PM
I was diagnosed with A D D around 6 years back. I started taking the medications 1.5 years back and I had tremendous improvement.

I thought I could fight this on my own, but seeing the improvement I had with the drugs, I am thinking it maybe worth the time and effort to see a pscyhologist. Over all these years of living with A D D I think I have built up a lot unhealthy beliefs, I have certain destructive habits, but I dont always know what these are. Having somebody point it out will be very helpful.

I am thinking of starting seeing a psychologist on a regular basis. I know even among psychologists, theres a huge variation in specialization.

What should I look for in a psychologist? Has there been any definitive proof from medical/psychology based research that one mode of psychotherapy is better than the other?

I also want to mention that I may have comorbid issues. i am actually on a d d e r a l l + s e ro qu e l (small dose). So I am a bit confused as to what specialization to look for.

Thanks for your time.

ToneTone
09-13-16, 09:21 PM
Man, you ask a great question ... I would say yes, look for someone with experience with ADHD ... But the first psychologist I found for ADHD (she also had ADHD) was not all that helpful ... just not all that sharp ... and she rushed over topics ...

But then I found another psychologist who mentioned ADHD as one of his focuses ... And he has been amazing ... The funny thing is that by the time I came to him, his focus had shifted away from ADHD per se ... Now, he's into getting people to fully explore their individual brains and how their brains work and he's big on self acceptance and practicing how to make wise decisions and not get caught up in emotion ...

Anyway, the long and short is ... I think the research shows that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is effective ...but the research also shows that perhaps the most important factor in patient improvement is the "patient-therapist bond." In other words, it helps to really like and feel connected your therapist.

I would say shop around ... it's OK to meet people for the first time ... you can say that ... Think in terms of visiting four people maybe ... as a start, see if any one of them seems to really connect with you ... It shouldn't take long to find out you have a connection ... Strange ... I think there is a chemistry thing among therapists-clients that is similar to any other relationship ... Some people, you'll sit there and for some reason, you just don't feel comfortable or you think the person is missing something ...

So get out and there and meet a number of people ... that's my advice ... someone who is generically REALLY good ... and who gets you! ... will be better than the person who lists ADHD as a specialty but who you don't really connect with ...

And the very best therapists in my view will go where you want them to go ... even if they don't have specific experience with it ... The mediocre therapists can't do that ...

Good luck ... GREAT MOVE!!!!!!!

Oh ... and yes, I googled therapists and went to different websites, etc ...

Tone

sarahsweets
09-14-16, 04:16 AM
Are you looking to see a psychologist as in a therapist or counselor? For therapy?

Traveler5
09-14-16, 04:05 PM
ToneTone offers some great advice. I would get online and try and find any reviews about some of the therapists you're interested in. See what others say about him/her. That doesn't guarantee you'll find the one that's right for you. But it gives you an idea of what they're like before going in. Good luck.

sarahsweets
09-15-16, 03:02 AM
I was diagnosed with A D D around 6 years back. I started taking the medications 1.5 years back and I had tremendous improvement.

I thought I could fight this on my own, but seeing the improvement I had with the drugs, I am thinking it maybe worth the time and effort to see a pscyhologist. Over all these years of living with A D D I think I have built up a lot unhealthy beliefs, I have certain destructive habits, but I dont always know what these are. Having somebody point it out will be very helpful.

I am thinking of starting seeing a psychologist on a regular basis. I know even among psychologists, theres a huge variation in specialization.

What should I look for in a psychologist? Has there been any definitive proof from medical/psychology based research that one mode of psychotherapy is better than the other?

I also want to mention that I may have comorbid issues. i am actually on a d d e r a l l + s e ro qu e l (small dose). So I am a bit confused as to what specialization to look for.

Thanks for your time.

do you mean a psychiatrist to get prescribed medication? Or a psychologist for therapy?

Cyllya
09-15-16, 03:09 AM
CBT is probably your best bet.

Here's something I posted about ADHD-related therapy recently; most of it still applies.

This fancy-schmancy science article (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2909688/) says that CBT is (probably) useful for ADHD, but only if it includes "targeted learning and practice of specific behavioral compensatory strategies."

I haven't had much luck looking into ADHD therapy. Whenever I try to research the possibility, any info about it is either...
really vague, not clear on what exactly the therapy is even supposed to improve
"behavioral therapy" for children who have "problem behaviors"--these usually sound more like thinly disguised parenting classes than therapy
all about helping you deal with the emotional effects of ADHD-related hardships, not actually treating ADHD symptoms directly (this is what I ended up with when I actually went to a counselor; she basically tried to talk me out of believing I was disabled) (this sort of thing could be useful for some people, but it's not what I was looking for)
education about what ADHD is
teaching organizational skills that sound like they're either really obvious and/or something I learned in school (wow, you mean I should make lists??? I never would have guessed :rolleyes:)--maybe they're actually imparting some special super-secret ADHD-specific versions of the techniques, but I can't help but be pessimistic.


I recently had a first appointment with a new counselor who I think specializes in CBT, so I'm hoping this will be fruitful. I'd like to say I'm "cautiously optimistic," but I think "pessimistic but desperate" would be more accurate.

In case you're curious how it's been going with my newest counselor: Not well. I like this lady, and I especially appreciate that she can actually conceive what my problems are (unlike the previous two counselors), but I have not actually been more functional.

If you have any symptoms that are frequently confused with a different problem, you might bring that up during your first appointment to find out whether the therapist can understand you. For example, I have major issues with the "initiation of tasks" aspect of executive function, which results in this completely nonsensical but very powerful urge to not do things. This isn't a problem that's discussed very often (even though it seems like a common ADHD issue), so professionals can easily confuse it with other "motivation" or "procrastination" problems, such as perfectionism, being too sad/apathetic to care about the task, having more responsibilities than typical people can handle, lack of knowledge about even the most basic aspects of time management, having an incorrect belief that I'm incapable of the task, etc. If a therapist misunderstands my best attempts to clearly describe this problem, there's no hope of them providing good therapy.

For the record, an actual psychologist is someone with a PhD (or PsyD) in psychology. Most of the professionals providing therapy are some kind of counselor (LPC, LCSW, etc) with only a Masters degree in psychology. I'm not sure whether getting psychotherapy from a psychologist has any advantage; I think a lot of their extra training has to do with research and stuff.

FinallyDxed!
09-30-16, 08:44 PM
My experience is to stay away from the psychoanalytic crap. I found a mental health counselor who has ADHD and "gets me". So far so good. But I was just diagnosed so my needs are different than yours. Basically trial and error to find that empathetic nonjudgmental person who actively engages with you would be my best advice :). Good luck!

diagoro
10-11-16, 11:18 AM
I've had very mixed results with the 'talking' aspect of my ADD care. Past years I was only able to speak with the doctor who was prescribing the meds. That meant my time was usually limited, and it was a very superficial chat. Felt more like they were just filling time to justify the appointment time (since writing the script takes all of 2 minutes). Oddly, considering how terrible my experience with Kaiser has been, the psych at Kaiser was great, and really went out of his way to help.

I'm currently being treated at a psychiatry center, and have seen several in-house therapists without luck. One was fresh out of college, and nowhere near as experienced as I need. She actually spent the first 20 minutes slowly reading the medical guidelines, like she was talking to a child. The second was fine, but his only open time was on Saturday morning. Yeah, that's gonna work.

I think a good therapist should be able to listen, and speak to you as an equal, with respect. Too many talk down, as though they have the key to life, and are considering if they want to share it or not.