How do I find a psychologist as a GP?

Patients rely on GPs to give them good quality health advice and recommendations on who they should see. So it may come as a surprise that many GPs only know a handful of psychologists. There are few opportunities to meet psychologists and GPs in training tend to ask their colleagues for advice on who they should refer to. However, what makes a good psychologist for one patient may not be the same for another. It’s hazardous for us to only use a small number of psychologists when our patients are so diverse.

The experience that patients have on their first meeting with a psychologist is vital to the therapeutic relationship. Finding a psychologist that ‘gets’ you can create a sense of trust that allows you to explore your issues in depth and make meaningful change to your life. Our experiences and personalities can significantly impact how we respond to a therapist. There is no doubt that being able to be vulnerable with your therapist can enhance your ability to get better. This is what we call a good ‘therapeutic fit’.

“I’m mindful that it’s critical that we find the right match.”

When a patient I’ve been caring for has decided it’s time to see a psychologist, I try to consider their personalities, background, age, gender and specific mental health issue to find a suitable therapist. I’m mindful that it’s critical that we find the right match. Seeing a psychologist takes a significant investment from the patient’s point of view. They must give up time, money, energy and expose their vulnerabilities to a stranger in the hope of alleviating their suffering. The wrong ‘fit’ may be a significant setback in the patient’s health journey.

The process isn’t easy and it isn’t perfect. If I don’t have someone in mind I’ll look to other doctors who I work with and trust for advice. Beyond this there are a few online resources but they often don’t give enough information to base a decision on.

This website and directory was created to help build stronger relationships between the medical profession and psychologists. We want to give people the ability to get a good sense of who their therapist is and decide whether they are the right match. We recognised the importance of having this resource and hope that it will help patients to access the care for which they stand in need.