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How do I Choose the Best Mental Health Program?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Patients seeking the best mental health program could be looking for therapists who operate in a specific way or hospitals designed to treat mental health issues. The question can be asked by would-be practitioners of mental health care, and people might want to know which avenue of study is best if they want to practice in the mental health field. Ultimately, each person may choose the best mental health program that appeals most, and from a collective viewpoint there may not be a single best. Knowing the options available is probably the most helpful way to make a choice.

People looking to choose the best mental health program for treatment have a variety of options. A person could seek out competent local therapists to discuss present issues and determine what other treatments might be of value. Therapists don’t all have the same theoretical orientation, and each type may want to treat mental health issues in different ways. This may be of use when a specific type of treatment is desired, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or psychoanalysis. People wanting more general treatment might favor someone with an eclectic approach.

The best way to choose is by asking about a therapist's background and theory. One of the principal differences between one type and another may be time it takes to complete therapy, and degree of illness in an individual patient. Certain conditions require additional assistance, such as drug therapy.

Patients might need to choose the best mental health program when analyzing hospitals that treat mental health issues. This may be less difficult than choosing a therapist, due to narrower choices. People may need to consider health insurance coverage, convenience of the location, and types of treatments the hospital offers. They might look for programs that are day programs, allowing clients to go home at night. In some areas of the world, closures of mental hospitals make it difficult to find hospitals that are affordable, or even nearby.

People who would like to choose the best mental health program to become providers of care have different considerations. Programs exist to become psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists, marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers and psychologists. Each program differs, and length of time may be part of choice. Psychiatrists study for much longer, completing medical school and specialty training. Social workers and therapists complete master’s degrees and spend several more years in supervised training. Psychologists hold doctorates and must also finish at least a year of internship.

A few things people might think about in choosing a program is length of time needed to finish it, and types of work that can be accomplished with different degrees or certifications. Once people choose the best mental health program direction they can begin to compare schools, costs, theoretical orientation, and other factors. These will help determine the most attractive options.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGEEK contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

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Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGEEK contributor, Tricia...
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