Finding a therapist

My doctor suggested to me that I see a therapist because of the anxiety attacks I've been having. Basically, he thinks there's nothing medically wrong with me to cause the attacks, and I just need a little help working out some issues that are bothering me. So I called the number they gave me and got the list of providers I can go to. Here's my problem... all it is is a list of names with degrees after them. First of all, I don't know if I should go to a psychologist or a Master's Licenced Therapist. Is there a difference? And is there any way to pick one other than randomly pulling a name out of the bag? Is there some kind of website that gives information about specific therapists? (I already checked the sites for my insurance and the referring company, and they have nothing.) I feel weird enough about going to a total stranger to talk about my personal life, so I'd like to be able to at least make a semi-informed decision when choosing one.
*Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
A psychiatrist is someone who would likely be able to prescribe meds, while a therapist might not.

You can always call a couple, ask what they may specialize in, etc. Let them know that it's your first time going, and you had some questions/concerns about finding the right person.
I guess I should have specified that they list Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Master's Licenced Therapists. I crossed out all the psychiatrists because I don't want them to prescribe me meds, but it's the other two options that are confusing me. The list also says if they deal with substance abuse, children, adolescents, adults, and aging. They all see adults, so that classification doesn't help me much either. What kind of specialization should I be looking for? Are there ones that specialize in people who make their lives unnecessarily complicated and confusing? That's pretty much my issue.
*Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
You might have to call and ask if they have experience in dealing with people with anxiety issues. Not sure what a Master's License's Therapist is, but I would guess that maybe they don't have a psychology degree (maybe a Master's degree, but in another field), but they had the training in therapy that was necessary to get licensed. Just my guess.
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Why don't you pick a few names and call them? You may be able to get a feel for them, just by how they respond to you on the phone. What kinds of things do you need to work on? Do you need more of a short-term solution-focused therapy? Or do you need more in depth psychotherapy? You might want to ask what their specialty is or have they ever treated someone for anxiety? How long have they been in practice? What kind of availability do they have? Just keep the telephone conversation short (time is money and everything is billable ).

I'm not familiar with the Master's Licenced Therapist certification, so I can't offer any advice there (I'm an LCSW). Maybe that's a question you might want to ask when you call.

Good luck. I think it's great that you're seeking help for your anxiety.
I guess I should have specified that they list Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Master's Licenced Therapists. I crossed out all the psychiatrists because I don't want them to prescribe me meds, but it's the other two options that are confusing me. The list also says if they deal with substance abuse, children, adolescents, adults, and aging. They all see adults, so that classification doesn't help me much either. What kind of specialization should I be looking for? Are there ones that specialize in people who make their lives unnecessarily complicated and confusing? That's pretty much my issue.
Originally Posted by Bailey422
'


I wouldn't cross the psychiatrists out just because you don't want meds. You might be ruling out a very good doctor by doing this. I recommend you do like the others recommend and call a few. You will know within first or second contact if the one that you are visiting is right for you.


"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -- Theodor Seuss Geisel
I guess I should have specified that they list Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Master's Licenced Therapists. I crossed out all the psychiatrists because I don't want them to prescribe me meds, but it's the other two options that are confusing me. The list also says if they deal with substance abuse, children, adolescents, adults, and aging. They all see adults, so that classification doesn't help me much either. What kind of specialization should I be looking for? Are there ones that specialize in people who make their lives unnecessarily complicated and confusing? That's pretty much my issue.
Originally Posted by Bailey422
'


I wouldn't cross the psychiatrists out just because you don't want meds. You might be ruling out a very good doctor by doing this. I recommend you do like the others recommend and call a few. You will know within first or second contact if the one that you are visiting is right for you.
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
ITA.

As for what they specialize in, yes, some of them focus more on depression, some focus more on anxiety, etc.
I guess I should have specified that they list Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Master's Licenced Therapists. I crossed out all the psychiatrists because I don't want them to prescribe me meds, but it's the other two options that are confusing me. The list also says if they deal with substance abuse, children, adolescents, adults, and aging. They all see adults, so that classification doesn't help me much either. What kind of specialization should I be looking for? Are there ones that specialize in people who make their lives unnecessarily complicated and confusing? That's pretty much my issue.
Originally Posted by Bailey422
'


I wouldn't cross the psychiatrists out just because you don't want meds. You might be ruling out a very good doctor by doing this. I recommend you do like the others recommend and call a few. You will know within first or second contact if the one that you are visiting is right for you.
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
Here's the thing with insurance companies. They tend to contract with psychiatrists for med management, not psychotherapy. Their rates are very high, therefore, it's not cost effective for insurance companies to pay them for an entire session. The usually conduct a much shorter session, just to touch base and see how the meds are working out. I would definitely choose a psychiatrist for long-term psychotherapy, but only if I were paying out-of-pocket.

Don't rule them out, but I would call just to make sure what their role is, with regard to the insurance company (ie; do they provide "talk therapy" or is their role to dispense and monitor medication).
A psychiatrist is a doctor (MD) and can precribe medication.

A psychologist has a Ph.D. and can't prescribe medication, but can do therapy.

A Master's Licenced Therapist is an MSW (Masters in Social Welfare) or other therapist with a master's degree, who has training in counseling and obviously, a license. They may be just as skilled as a psychologist or even have more training.

Either a psychologist or MSW would probably be more oriented towards talk therapy than a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists these days are more on the medication side. A non-MD might refer you to see an MD if they think medication might be an option, while continuing to see the client for talk therapy.
You've already been given some good advice.

I'll just add that if you don't like or feel a repore with the first one that you visit, chose another one.
It's important to find the right person who you feel not only listens to you but also understands your needs and issues.
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Thanks for the responses, and thanks Suzen for claifying the differences. I did call a few, but the receptionists didn't seem to know much more than what my list told me. I ended up making an appt with a PhD psychologist, so I'll see how that goes. My co-pay is only $25, so I guess it's not too big a deal if I don't like the first one or two I see. I really appreciate your guys' help. This is so weird for me... I have a hard enough time opening up to people close to me, but I guess I'll see how this works out. The best I can do is try to be open-minded about the whole thing.
*Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
From experience, I can tell you that it can be easier to talk to a comparative stranger about the difficult issues than to people you are close to.
Pretty much the only way to find a therapist seems to be trial and error. Call a few that your insurance covers, talk to them on the phone about what they specialize in, schedule an appt and see how it goes. If you like them, fine, if not then move on to the next one.

Everyone always says ask your doctor or people that you know. Unfortunately seeing a therapist isn't really a topic that is brought into casual conversation. I have asked doctors for recommendations, they gave me names but didn't know about the people any more than I did.

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