Susan Warren, LMSW

Searching through the internet when you’ve decided to seek mental health help can seem daunting. There is a wide array of mental health professionals available to you. Pretty soon the alphabet of the Mental Health world comes alive: LCSW, LPC, LMSW, LAC, MSW, LMFT. Mostly, these letters indicate the type of education the provider obtained. “Social worker,” “counselor,” “therapist,” “mental health provider” are muddled in descriptions and profiles. You might think to yourself, “It’s more trouble to find help than it is to be helped,” and stop your search.  A therapist, a counselor, a social worker – these are all simply the titles of people trained to provide support. Every mental health professional uses or prefers their title for different reasons, and I prefer the term “therapist.” It’s a matter of training, but also sometimes preference.

So, if these names are generally for the same thing, then really how should you find a therapist? While the initials and names attached to a mental health provider are different, one thing remains the same: we’re here for you.

  1. Oftentimes, therapists focus their work with certain clients. For example, at Cardinal Counseling our therapists work with those who experience trauma, those living with chronic illness, depression, anxiety, OCD, and/or relationship difficulties. It is important to read about these issues and research your provider – because after all, you must feel accepted, seen, and heard.

  2. Meeting with a therapist for the first time can bring up both positive and negative emotions. When beginning the search for a therapist, remember this is the road to getting help. It takes a lot of courage to admit needing help. Whether it’s overwhelming thoughts, unwanted emotions, worrisome behaviors, relationships with others, life events that aren’t going the way we hope, or simply feeling “off,” everyone deserves help. It is even scarier to think about opening up to a stranger about these types of things. The good news is – therapists and counselors are human.

  3. We’re uniquely trained to support people. We are able to listen to your concerns and to help you feel more comfortable. We’re here to help. Let us know your concerns and fears in beginning therapy. What makes it hard to schedule your first appointment? At Cardinal Counseling we have immediate availability and many other providers are also accepting new clients. All it takes is a phone call or clicking here. Using our simple HIPAA-safe video platform, we can provide you with the tools you need to navigate these strange times while you stay in the comfort and safety of your home.

  4. Trust your gut. Naturally, the first few times you meet with your therapist may seem awkward, and this is okay – you’re getting to know each other! Be open with your provider on how things are going. All counselors have different approaches, different personalities, and communicate differently. You may like one more than another. There is nothing wrong with letting a therapist know you might need to change to another provider; they might be able to recommend someone they know who could be a better fit for you.

Remember: You’re in control. This sounds like an exaggeration, but you are the most important part of therapy. Therapists do not operate from a judgement perspective; instead, we seek to understand and deeply empathize with you. All Cardinal Counseling therapists depend on your feedback – if you feel heard, if we spent time talking about what you wanted to talk about, if things are working? All of these aspects are incredibly important for therapy, because you are important in therapy.

Susan Warren, Therapist