The Advantages Of Comprehensive Psychological Services

Medically reviewed by Melissa Guarnaccia, LCSW
Updated May 15, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include suicide, substance use, or abuse which could be triggering to the reader.
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Becoming a licensed psychologist can take a decade of schooling and clinical experience. As a result, psychologists often choose specializations to utilize in their careers. For example, some specialize in psychological services for children, others concern themselves with workplace psychology, and others specialize in treating specific disorders. Instead of working with everyone who needs a psychologist, they may provide a specific type of care to a specific client. 

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However, when clients need comprehensive care that covers all their psychological needs, a therapist or psychologist may work with others in the healthcare system to develop a treatment plan. For example, they may sign releases with the client's psychiatrist and primary care physician so each mental health team member can communicate with each other. Understanding how comprehensive psychological services work can help you find a provider or mental health clinic that suits your needs.

The limitations of consulting a single provider

Many professions involve a wide range of client needs. For example, an engineer specializing in dam construction might not know as much about bridges. Similarly, social workers specializing in helping seniors may not have the experience to assist with the welfare of adolescents. In the mental health arena, it may not always make sense to have one provider serve multiple functions. 

Limited scope of knowledge

While a professional may specialize in a certain condition, they may not have the expertise to address comorbid challenges. This challenge may be particularly pronounced in a community with fewer mental health professionals. An example would be a counselor specializing in trauma, who might be less suited to support someone who also experiences social anxiety. Although you might find one therapist to support all your needs, having one office or clinic that provides comprehensive mental health care may be easier than going to multiple providers for separate concerns. 

Less thorough psychological assessments and neuropsychological evaluations

Individuals who hope to better understand the severity and frequency of symptoms of a potential mental health condition often need to undergo extensive testing. Submitting to psychological interviews, neuropsychological evaluations, and other screening tests can be even more difficult if they occur in many different places. A single mental health professional in a specific specialty may not be equipped to complete psychological assessments that involve multiple mediums. However, a clinic that provides comprehensive psychological services may be able to provide psychological evaluations that cover numerous aspects of emotional and cognitive health. 

When to seek comprehensive care

Often, those living with mental illness are experiencing multiple diagnoses at once. For instance, depression and substance use disorders frequently co-occur. When this happens, clients may benefit most from early intervention to treat both conditions, especially when the effects of one amplify or interact with the other. The necessary experience to treat both might not be available in a single counselor. In these cases, a client might simultaneously meet with an addiction counselor and a psychiatrist to develop effective intervention programs. 

In other cases, a therapist might be qualified to treat a client, but the two don't "click" for a therapeutic relationship. While professional chemistry and rapport are often essential to effective therapy, exercising these attributes can be difficult for various reasons. If this occurs, finding another psychologist may be the most effective. However, such a course can be time-consuming, expensive, and frustrating. As a result, many clients may give up the search altogether or resign themselves to a less-than-optimal relationship with their counselor.

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By contrast, comprehensive service with a variety of professional counselors, each with their expertise and style, can make this process of shopping around for the best fit more convenient and more practical. The ability to connect or shop around for the right counselor was formerly possible only with larger organizations or practices, often devoted to inpatient care rather than general counseling. However, patients and individuals can now use outpatient mental health clinics, case management, online therapy, or a therapy team to find comprehensive care. 

The client's right to choose

It can be difficult to reach out for support if you're experiencing a mental health challenge. Talking about personal issues, problems within families, or painful topics with a stranger can be challenging. You may be dealing with issues that may not only require the assistance of a mental health professional but also the assistance of an outside organization like Child Protective Services (CPS).  In addition to these issues, a client may prefer to speak with someone of a similar religious background, the same first language, or an understanding of their sexual orientation. Some clients may also benefit more from one type of therapy than another, such as family systems therapy instead of cognitive-behavioral therapy.

If you're looking for comprehensive services, you have the right to choose which provider or business you work with. However, if an insurance company is paying for services, you might be limited to options within your network. In these cases, you may be able to find support through alternative low-cost services that still provide comprehensive care. Contact comprehensive psychological service providers ahead of scheduling an appointment to determine whether or not they accept your insurance.

Counseling options 

Because mental health can be a vast and ever-expanding field, it is common for psychologists to specialize in a specific condition or situation. Therefore, not every therapist may perfectly match your needs and wants. You might not feel conversational chemistry with them even if they have the correct specialization. One solution to this challenge is online therapy, which allows you to switch therapists anytime for any reason. You also have thousands of licensed therapists to choose from if you work with a platform like BetterHelp. If you see a psychiatrist or another professional in person, you can continue to see them while you use online therapy. 

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If you are hesitant about online therapy, clinical studies have demonstrated that online therapy effectively treats several mental illnesses, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. It has also been found to be more affordable for those who struggle to pay the cost of in-person sessions. Many clients also impart that they feel more of a sense of safety and are willing to open up more over online mediums (like their PC or smartphone) than face-to-face therapy models. 

Takeaway

Comprehensive psychological services involve care that treats every symptom instead of one area or specialty. Although multiple providers may be effective, some counselors and therapists take an integrative approach to treatment, using methods from multiple modalities and specialties to address their clients' individual needs. If you want to learn more about comprehensive care or check out additional information about integrative therapy, consider contacting a counselor to get started.

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