We use the term ‘therapist’ to broadly refer to any professional who is trained to provide assessment and treatment of emotional and mental difficulties and works toward the betterment of well-being to individuals or communities.
Even though the term ‘therapist’ is not a protected term, at hoopfull we focus only on regulated and licensed professionals such as mental health counselors, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, etc.
You can begin with either. We believe you know best what works for you and we encourage you to trust your gut. We are just here to help you make your mental health journey a bit easier to navigate.
Therapists such as psychologists, counselors, or social workers have experience and training in providing therapy. They use different psychotherapy approaches such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy), EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), EFT (emotionally focused therapy), existential therapy, humanistic therapy, IFS (internal family systems), and psychoanalytic therapy, psychodynamic therapy to name a few. Many use other modalities such as movement, art, meditation, breathwork,
Some therapists can also assess and diagnose various conditions and refer to psychiatrists if medication management is needed. A therapist will speak to you about any referrals or recommendations they may have for you.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who is able to prescribe medication such as to treat depression or anxiety. Some psychiatrists have experience and are specialized to provide therapy whereas others focus primarily on medication management and referring their patients to therapists for psychotherapy.
At the moment on hoopfull we focusing only on a community of professionals who are licensed therapists.
Age of consent varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, typically in the UAE, anyone under the age of 18 must have parental consent to start therapy. But teens are also highly independent and should be involved in choosing their therapists, so if possible please include your teen in the search for a good therapist for them.
Once you have found the right therapist, schedule an initial consultation with them and ask about what you should expect when working with them. Some therapists like to meet with the parents first, some prefer to see the child and parent partly together then separately.
Please verify this directly with your insurance provider. This can range from no mental health coverage at all to unlimited mental health coverage, so there is a lot of variety among providers and policies.
The best way to find out is by contacting your provider in writing and asking them to clarify what coverage you have for mental health treatment. Also, a very good issue to clarify is whether or not they require you to have a referral from a medical doctor (e.g., General Practitioner or Psychiatrist). Ask specifically who the referral should be from so you can see the correct specialist before booking with your therapist.
Most therapists work on a pay and claim basis. Which means you will pay out of pocket, then submit the official invoice and a claim form to be reimbursed by your insurance provider. Insurance companies only cover licensed therapists.
Some insurance providers, such as MetLife, will cover sessions with a DHA and DHCC licensed therapist but not with a CDA licensed therapist. If you have any questions, contact your insurance provider and ask for clarification.
Congratulations for taking the first step!
Counseling, psychotherapy, psychological treatment are all interchangeable words for the term therapy. The journey of therapy typically begins with a consultation with the potential therapist. Some therapists offer a brief informal consultation over the phone, to assess whether there is a good fit between your needs and their expertise. All therapists will also have a formal paid consultation which is about 45 min to an hour long. This is a good opportunity for them to form an initial impression of what is going on in your life and what you need help with.
The initial session will involve many personal questions such as why you want to do therapy (e.g., you may say “ I have been single for a long time and want to understand why relationships are so hard for me?” Or “ I had a panic attack and that was scary, I want to understand why and how I can prevent it.” This is what we call the “presenting problem.” From there, the therapist will guide you through a discussion to be able to gain a better understanding of you. This is also an opportunity for you to interview the therapist to understand more about their approach and treatment plan for you. If you do not feel comfortable with the therapists approach, you don’t have to schedule another session.
In the initial session and following sessions, there will be many conversations about your history, your life, your family, work, education, values, your relationships and how you think, feel, act. This helps the therapist get to know you better, and to formulate ideas and plans for you on how to improve your well-being, live a more balanced life, and help you explore aspects of your life that need attention.
Sessions can vary significantly depending on the therapist, the methodologies they use and the kind of clients the therapist typically sees. Cultural and spiritually relevant information are typically considered carefully to help you.
There are hundreds of different therapy modalities that have been researched and studied over the past decades. Basically these are different approaches to therapy grounded in theory and empirically tested. Some approaches you may have heard about and some that are completely fresh and new to you. No one modality is a fit for all.
For example, CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy may work well for one person, and a psychodynamic approach may be much better suited for someone else. While art therapy would benefit one person, somatic therapy (involving movement and bodily sensations) may be much better for someone else. Or when couples therapy is indicated for a particular couple, separate individual therapy may be much better for another couple.
Psychotherapy is as complex as human beings. So no one method is perfect for everyone! But we’re here to help simplify the experience of finding your therapist as much as possible!
A competent therapist will refer you to someone else if they believe that a particular area of work or approach might benefit you that they may not have experience working with. For example, if you have initially worked with your therapist on stress management at work and you are now wanting to address issues related to your eating they may refer you to another therapist who is well equipped in this area. Or if you bring up significant childhood sexual abuse they may refer you to a trauma therapist. Or if there are concerns about a possible learning or memory difficulty which is affecting your attention/concentration they may refer you to a neuropsychologist for an assessment.
This doesn’t mean you have to work with multiple therapists at the same time. In fact seeing multiple therapists at once is highly advised against and only appropriate in very unique circumstances. What’s important is that you are seeing the right therapist for what you want and need to focus on in your life. You and your therapist must collaborate to figure this out together.
Therapy involves the use of various “tools.” Some may be very subtle and just feel like you are having a very personal conversation where the therapist asks you thought provoking or reflective questions to help you process and form an understanding of a particular issue or experience in your life.
Other tools are more obvious exercises and could involve filling out questionnaires, completing homework, practicing certain techniques such as breathing exercises or mindfulness to deal with day to day stress. Any actual mental exercise you do in the session should have a rationale and your therapist must provide an explanation why they are suggesting it.
Therapy can be uncomfortable at times especially if you are not used to thinking or talking about your life in such depth. Competent and ethical therapists will help to the best of their abilities to make you feel safe and comfortable.
It may take some time before you open up about certain topics. If you know there are important issues you need to discuss but you don’t feel quite ready to talk about them, you can say to your therapist “there are things I want to say but don’t feel ready yet.” In fact you can bring up any experiences you have in session as they can provide the therapist with very good data on how to best help you.
If after a few sessions you do not feel a good connection with your therapist it is ok to end the relationship or ask for a referral to someone else. A competent and ethical clinician will regularly check in with you on how you are feeling and make sure to address any concerns you have about your therapy experience. Therapy should be collaborative and should never feel coercive, judgmental or unsafe.