The Advantages Of Comprehensive Psychological Services
By Nadia Khan
Updated February 12, 2020
Reviewer Deborah Horton
Becoming a licensed psychologist takes around a decade of hard work, and often much longer. It is therefore surprising, but true that every psychologist isn't capable of absolutely handling every task perfectly. Some specialize in the mental health of children, others concern themselves with psychology in the workplace, while others specialize in treating specific disorders. It is simply impossible for one individual to offer the comprehensive psychological services required in every possible case.
The Limitations of Consulting a Single Therapist
Virtually, every profession has developed to the point where it is impossible to be an expert in the specific field as a whole. An engineer who specializes in dam construction will likely know little about bridges, but would also be the first to admit that designing one is not part of his core skill set.
Similarly, responsible counselors will recognize when they are not in a good position to help a particular patient and generally refer them to a colleague. Every individual is different. While psychology allows certain generalizations to be made, most psychologists, at some point in their career, will encounter issues that they are simply not equipped to address effectively.
When Comprehensive Psychological Services are Needed
More than one mental health issues are often at work in any given case. For instance, depression and addiction frequently go hand in hand. When this happens, it is rarely effective to treat only one aspect of the problem, especially when the effects of one amplify or interact with the other. The necessary experience to treat both might just not be available in a single counselor. Two or more counselors may be required.
Even when a therapist is well qualified to deal with a patient's condition, it often happens that the two simply don't "click" as individuals. This kind of rapport is essential to productive therapy, but can be hard to establish for a variety of reasons, or for no definite reason at all. If this occurs, the only thing to be done is to look for another psychologist, but such course can be time-consuming, expensive and frustrating. Many patients will tend to give up the search altogether, or content themselves with a less than optimal solution.
By contrast, a comprehensive service that allows access to a variety of professional counselors, each with their own professional expertise and style, makes this process of shopping around for the best fit easier and more practical. This was formerly possible only with larger practices, often devoted to inpatient care rather than general counseling. But now, online services provide a means to match a patient to the most appropriate counselors available.
The Patient's Right to Choose
Unfortunately, many people who struggle with mental health issues are hesitant when it comes to seeking treatment. This is very understandable. Talking about very personal and often painful topics with a stranger is difficult enough without introducing additional factors that can hinder communication. Any given patient may prefer to speak with someone of a similar religious background, to engage with the same first language, or to benefit more likely from cognitive behavioral therapy than psychoanalysis.
Psychology has never been a "one size fits all" profession. However skilled a single counselor is in his own chosen areas of expertise, it is impossible to be all things to all people. Access to comprehensive psychological services is often the way forward.