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When to see a Psychological Professional

Although many people get professional help for personal problems, it can be hard to get started, or to recognize when you or your loved ones need help.  A problem does not have to be overwhelming, or a crisis, for you to benefit from psychological treatment. You may need to talk to a psychologist or psychological associate to analyze and understand the problem, to develop healthy strategies, and to make the changes you need to make.

Don't wait to be overwhelmed:  Waiting may cause needless suffering and result in a problem getting worse over time.

As you can see by the partial list of reasons below, challenges at home, work or school can happen to anyone.  Could you, or someone you know, be on this list? If the answer is "yes," please consider speaking with a psychologist or psychological associate soon.

  • You have been a victim of abuse or violence.
  • You have been involved in a traumatic incident, such as a life-threatening accident.
  • You are using too much alcohol, prescription medications or street drugs.
  • You have a gambling problem.
  • You have an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia, compulsive over-eating).
  • You are anxious and/or depressed a lot of the time. Perhaps you are having suicidal thoughts.
  • You suffer from phobias. In other words, you are too afraid of certain things such as insects, going outside, talking to others or certain foods.
  • You suffer from chronic pain and/or chronic illness.
  • You suspect you or someone close to you has a learning disability or is doing poorly in school and you need an assessment.
  • You have had a brain injury or concussion and been unable to fully recover.
  • You or someone you love has become chronically ill or disabled.
  • You are suffering from a strong and persistent reaction to a tragic event such as the death of a loved one, a separation or divorce, the loss of a job, etc.
  • You have difficulty getting along with your partner, family members, or co-workers.
  • You are faced with a major life change.
  • You are overwhelmed or "burned out" by stress at home, work or both.
  • You are having problems with parenting your kids, or your loved one, sometimes a parent, who is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
  • You need an assessment regarding child custody and/or access.
  • You need an assessment to support claims for personal injury.
  • You are faced with a career change and need vocational advice and assessment.

Should my Child see a Psychologist or Psychological Associate?

Sometimes it's hard to know when children need professional help.  Some people get help when family members are not getting along.  Others seek help when they find it hard to manage or parent their children.  You might also consult a psychologist if your child exhibits any of the following behaviours:

  • difficulties at school, such as learning difficulties or socialization
  • seems to be developing differently or slower than others
  • wetting the bed beyond the usual age
  • seems socially immature
  • poor eating and sleeping habits
  • overly active or has difficulty paying attention
  • aggressive and destructive or has difficulty with other children
  • lying or stealing
  • seems anxious or depressed
  • difficulty with drugs or alcohol
  • eating disorder
  • adjusting poorly to change such as a move, divorce, or separation

How would a psychologist or psychological associate help?

Initially, a psychologist talks with parents/guardians to help them identify and clarify their concerns about their child. Often the child will be included in this initial session; the psychologist will let you know.  Psychological assessments and tests provide the psychologist and caregivers with helpful information about the child. The psychologist may see the child alone or involve the whole family.

The psychologist may want to collect information from teachers and the family physician and others people who know your child. They will only do this with your permission. The psychologist may want to have you and/or the teacher fill our some questionnaires about the child's behaviour or give her/him some psychological tests. These can be very helpful and will not be done without your permission.