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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Starting the process of therapy can be a difficult and scary time for many. Where to begin looking, finding a mental health professional that suits your needs and what types of goals you want to achieve in your sessions are all questions you may ask yourself.

Finding a mental health professional isn’t always as easy as some make it out to be. Sometimes you may go through multiple different licensed professionals before you find the one that best suits you and your needs. There are many different mental health professionals out there providing therapy, and understanding the differences between them can help in deciding which will be best for you.

A therapist or counsellor can help you to discuss issues in your life that may be bothering you, and give you the tools to address the mental health concerns you may have. Although therapists or counsellors can be a great resource for many, most can’t provide mental health diagnoses. A psychologist can diagnose you with mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, etc., and can help provide treatment options for your conditions. A psychiatrist can also diagnose you with a mental health condition and they can prescribe medication treatments, which the other professions can’t do.

Often, if you see a mental health professional who knows your mental health concerns lay beyond their scope, they can refer you to other professions where you will be able to get the help you need. Finding the right professional may have a lot of ups and downs, but just because one doesn’t work out for you doesn’t mean that there isn’t a professional out there that can help. It can be discouraging when you feel let down by someone who is supposed to help, but know there are others out there who will be able to provide you with the care you need, and it can be a life-changing experience.

Understanding the different types of mental health professionals is important, but you can also look at the types of issues you face to get a professional that is better equipped for your situation. For me, growing up with a chronic illness provided me with an experience different than most. My first therapist offered me the advice of finding a new mental health professional who better understood my situation and its effects on my daily life. This opened the door to finding chronic illness therapists who specialized in seeing people like me, which I didn’t even know was an option before. This goes with all types of trauma and mental or physical health conditions, finding someone who understands your situation can make the biggest difference in your treatment.

Mental health professionals can often be expensive to afford, especially for students, which can make it difficult when trying to find one who is right for you. Take advantage of the resources your school may offer, although it may not be an end point for your therapy journey, they can provide you with the tools to get connected to other professionals. Whatever your financial situation may be, don’t let that discourage you from getting the quality help you deserve. There are many resources out there aiming to help you, and often your school or family doctor is a good place to start.

Seeking help through therapy can be beneficial in so many ways and can help anyone no matter what your life situation may be. Whether you have diagnosed mental health issues or just need someone to talk to about your daily life, professionals can help guide you in the right direction. Your mental health is important to your well-being, so take care of yourself and never be afraid to ask for help!

Alexandra DiVincenzo

Wilfrid Laurier '23

Alexandra is a third-year Psychology student with a minor in Sociology. She loves to write and in her spare time you can find her cozying up with a book or spending time with her friends and family!
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