Anxiety disorders can be treated by a wide range of mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, and psychiatric nurses. Primary care physicians also make frequent diagnoses, and they may prescribe medication or refer a patient to a mental health provider.
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Making Your Choice
To feel comfortable with a therapist, it’s recommended that you talk to more than one before making a choice. Consider these issues when deciding on a mental health professional and type of treatment:
- Training and credentials. Consider the training of the professional and ask about experience or expertise with the disorder. If the professional is licensed in your state or a preferred provider for your health insurer, make sure he or she has the appropriate training and experience. Learn about academic, licensing, and certification credential abbreviations.
- Experience. Select professionals who have experience treating anxiety disorders. Ask about their basic approach to treatment.
- Family involvement. Find out the role family members play in treatment. Make sure you understand how loved ones are involved and are comfortable with it. If you’re looking for a therapist for your child, ask if he or she will work with your child’s teachers and school.
- Type and format of treatment. Make sure you understand the course of treatment, including length, procedures, frequency and duration of the sessions, and expected length of time any medication will be necessary. Ask if he or she can prescribe medication or refer you to someone who can, if that proves necessary.
- Cost and insurance. Know your health insurance coverage for mental health, and ask if your insurance is accepted. It’s your responsibility to know your financial resources and any insurance requirements and limitations. Find out if the fee schedule is on a sliding scale based on income.
- Comfort and confidence. It is important to feel comfortable with a mental health professional. Having confidence in the person is essential for establishing a positive working relationship. If a therapist is reluctant to answer your questions, or if you do not feel comfortable, see someone else.
Questions to ask: Learn about choosing a therapist for your child.
- Licensed professional: psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, and other counselor licensed by a state to practice psychotherapy.
- Non-licensed professional: usually holds a master's degree and may be unlicensed because the state does not offer or require a license in that mental health field.
- Layperson specialist: usually someone who has recovered from an anxiety disorder and provides assistance to others.
Requirements for the practice of psychotherapy vary among states. Ask a therapist about his or her training and credentials before beginning treatment.
If you are unable to find a treatment provider through this website, you have other options: