General Practitioner

Generally the best person to see first is your own doctor. Most GPs are skilled in understanding the nature of a personal problem, even if not specially trained in this area. It may be useful to you and the doctor to ask for a longer appointment to allow sufficient time for a good assessment. If your doctor does not seem interested, ask around your friends and consider making a change. Some GPs take a special interest in these disorders; a few are trained in counselling and psychotherapy and they also have good knowledge on how and when to use medication. Thus you can, for a quite reasonable fee, get a thorough assessment and referral if necessary to an appropriate person or agency.

When your doctor suggests a referral it is best at that time to ask a few questions.

  • What qualifications does this person have?
  • Are they male or female?
  • What type of treatment does this person offer?
  • Is he/she a fully registered person with an organisation with ethical standards? (these refer to recognition of the patient as a needing person, to be respected, given full confidentiality, treated with dignity. It also implies that the person is well supervised in their work and adheres to the standards demanded by their Professional organistion).

How can I figure out what these qualifications mean in terms of getting help?

The following is a brief run down on what each of a number of specialised types of health professionals do. Some types of therapists may not be included in this summary and you may need to speak directly with them to get answers.