Listen to this podcast by Messy Parenting: Catholic Conversations on Marriage and Family Life to get a perspective on how therapy, counselling, coaching, or spiritual direction can fit into our faith walk.
Where Do I Go from Here?
OK…so you’re ready for a life line…Choosing from among available mental wellness options can be confusing, and sometimes it’s difficult to know which would best fit your needs. There are many trained, certified, and regulated professionals whose primary goal is to help people improve their mental health, and knowing what each title means can go a long way towards heading you in the right direction.
Choosing from among available mental wellness options can be confusing, and sometimes it’s difficult to know which would best fit your needs.
What’s in a Name?
Although by no means exhaustive, this list will help you narrow down a good fit:
- Psychiatrist – A psychiatrist has a medical degree with special training in diagnosing and treating mental health difficulties. Psychiatrists might work in hospitals or other community agencies or in private practice. Psychiatrists mostly use a medical model to treat their patients, and prescribe medication that can often be a helpful support to psychotherapy.
- Psychiatrists are fully covered by OHIP.
- Clinical Psychologist – A psychologist has a doctoral degree in psychology, which usually requires 5-7 years of education and training. Like a psychiatrist, a psychologist is trained to assess and diagnose mental health conditions, but uses psychotherapy instead of medication to treat a person’s difficulties in thoughts, emotions, behaviours, and relationships.
- Psychologists’ services are covered by most employee health packages and third-party health insurance companies.
- Registered Psychotherapist – Psychotherapy treats individuals who are struggling with a serious disorder in their thoughts, emotions, memories, or perspective, which is interfering with their day-to-day life. A psychotherapist can help you become more self-aware, recover from grief, trauma, or addictions, manage your emotions, and make sense of your past and present so that you can move forward in a healthier direction. Most therapists have at least a Masters degree and all are members of a government-regulated college in order to ensure safe and ethical professional practice.
- In addition to Registered Psychotherapists, physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, Clinical Psychologists, and Registered Social Workers can all practice as psychotherapists, and most are either covered by OHIP or third-party insurance plans.
- Counsellors – There are many mental wellness strategies and counselling activities that are not considered to be psychotherapy. Counsellors who do not practice psychotherapy can share advice, help with coping strategies, refer to other services, give informational workshops, teach social skills and emotions management, offer school and career counselling, and provide spiritual or faith guidance. Counselling is often a short-term relationship lasting from a few sessions to several months.
- Although counsellors are not usually covered under health insurance policies, most charge less per hour than Clinical Psychologists, Registered Psychotherapists or Registered Social Workers.
- Life Coach – A life coach can motivate you, help you reach your goals, and support you as you make important personal or work transitions. Life coaches can be brainstorming mentors, consultants, or accountability partners. They usually focus on your future rather than your past, and can help you make a wellness plan, change careers, or improve your relationships or parenting skills. Coaching relationships usually last from 1-8 sessions.
- Check out this podcast hosted by Staci Gulino as she talks with Karen Hornsby about coaching from a Catholic perspective, as well as how it differs from spiritual direction or therapy. Connect with a Catholic coach at The Raphael Remedy for help with relationships, parenting, or realizing your life goals.
- Usually less expensive than a counsellor or therapist; video sessions are often an option, and life coaches can practice internationally.
- Spiritual Directors and Prayer Partners – Sometimes our psychological or emotional struggles have spiritual roots and require guided prayer or spiritual direction to jumpstart our wellness journey. If this sounds like you, check out the Unbound Ministry or learn more about the process of spiritual direction at SpiritualDirection.com.
A Voice at the End of the Line
Still not sure where to go from here? Looking for a professional who can address your concerns from a Catholic perspective? Contact Anne Marie Posella at firstname.lastname@example.org for a confidential phone consult to discuss your particular situation and needs. Let Family Foundations Institute throw you a life line and help you get back on solid ground again.