Help finding a therapist. Generally or in Atlanta, GA
September 14, 2012 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Help finding a therapist. Generally or in Atlanta, GA

I've run into some issues lately, none of which are life-threatening or otherwise emergency-like in nature, that have led me to believe that I might benefit from the help of a professional.

My primary question is: how does one find a good therapist. How much do "specialties" matter? Credentials? Which credentials? Schooling? Certifications? et cetera.

More specifically, I have a problem with analysis paralysis. I realized I needed help as of a few weeks ago, but I've had a really difficult time finding the right person to go talk to. I'm hoping for either direct recommendations or general principles for finding the right therapist.

Background: I grew up with a father who had untreated and, for most of my life, undiagnosed PTSD. He had typical anger and temper issues, etc. I have some personal and professional issues with hiding from things that seem difficult -- when a problem doesn't have an obvious solution, I avoid it. I'm also more uptight and high-strung than I'd like to be. I take things too seriously and overreact more than I'd like. There are some anger management issues to deal with, although the occurrences of those are few and far between.

All of those problems are, I think, minor and not the end of the world, but they're starting to affect my life in ways I wish they wouldn't. I'm not sure if I should look for someone with a PTSD specialty, anger management? Something else?

Separate therapists for separate problems?

I have literally no clue where to begin and, coming from a family that never went to the doctor, let alone a therapist, I'm a bit in the dark about how to start this process, and any and all recommendations would be helpful, whether they're for specific Atlanta therapists or general ideas for solving these problems.

Thank you, hivemind.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know if you're male or female, but I really enjoyed working with Marilyn Hughes in Decatur. She specializes in eating disorders and primarily works with women, but she may have a good referral if your subjects aren't in her wheel-house.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:34 AM on September 14, 2012

Psychology Today has a nice tool for searching - that link should be to therapists who specialize in anxiety in a local zip code.

You don't necessarily need someone with a very specific qualification or specialty, nor seperate therapists for seperate issues (those all sound inter-related), so if I were you I'd flip through some of the local options and either call or email them to interview them on their process.

The other way to go is through your insurance. I started with primary care doctor for a recommendation, but if you don't have one, searching on your own for someone who sounds like a good fit is better.
posted by ldthomps at 8:54 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'll second the recommendation for the Psychology Today tool. That's how I found the therapist I'm going to now.

I was having the same sort of difficulty of trying to figure out everything perfectly before I started. But after reading advice a few times saying that most important thing is finding someone you get along with, I decided to look through the Psychology Today tool, picked someone who had a self-description that clicked with me, and emailed to set up an appointment. It was amazingly quick and easy, and I lucked into a good fit the first time.

The therapist I'm seeing is Lissa Davis and she's been really great. She has and office in Decatur, and another in Lilburn. She also emphasized the importance of finding the right fit, and told me at the first appointment that if she wasn't the right person, she'd help me find someone who was. I get the impression that that's something that a lot of good therapists will help you with, so taking the first step is really the most important thing. Once you're there, you'll have the help and encouragement you need to find the right person and the right approach.
posted by duien at 12:43 PM on September 14, 2012

I can highly recommend Kathleen Leser.
posted by pointystick at 1:47 PM on September 14, 2012

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