Counseling Tips

Can You See a Psychologist Without a Referral?

Can You See a Psychologist Without a Referral?

Not all mental health professionals can be seen via self-referral, and you should know this before going ahead to refer yourself to see a psychologist or any other mental health professionals.

Psychologists are very essential in the medical field. A psychologist is someone who has studied the mind and human behavior. What they do is that they specialize in mental health. Not only mental health but also emotional, behavioral disorder, and substance use disorder or abuse.


Can you refer yourself to a psychologist?

Can You See a Psychologist Without a Referral?

Yes, you can self-refer to a psychologist, psychotherapist, counselor provided that you are going to cover the total cost yourself. In situations where you have health insurance, self-reference may not be possible as payment for seeing a psychologist is determined by your insurance, and your insurance in most cases, refer you to the psychologist you would be seeing.

If you are referring yourself to see a psychologist, you need to make adequate research of your choice so that you will end up with a psychologist that suits your needs specifically.

You should note though that this does not work in situations where you may need a psychiatrist as you will need to be referred by either a psychologist, mental health advocate, and/or medical doctor.

How do you know when you need to see a psychologist?

Can You See a Psychologist Without a Referral?

Before you see a doctor, you need to know exactly why and the signs that you need to see a doctor. It is also the same thing as a psychologist. You need to know exactly when you need a psychologist so that you do not see them for the wrong reasons.

To know when you need to see a psychologist, ask yourself if your issue is mental or behavioral. If it is mental or behavioral problems you are having, then you know that you need to see a psychologist.

Psychologists are there for our mental and emotional needs, what this means that if your reason for seeing a psychologist does not revolve around mental and emotional needs, then it is not a psychologist that you need.

What psychologist does is that they provide help through talk therapy and counseling, unlike medial doctors that will provide help by prescribing of drugs.

Through this talk therapy and counseling, what the psychologist will help you do is that they will help to re-evaluate the patient’s feelings and attitudes, which will in turn help to create a healthier behavior in the patient and thereby solve his psychological problem.

A medical doctor diagnoses and prescribes drugs for patients, but in the case of the psychologists, what they do is apply scientifically validated procedures that will make it possible to identify the patient’s problem, and then the psychologist will recommend certain behavioral changes and the action that is to be taken.

This is how to know when you need to see a psychologist. If you are having psychological issues, you really need to reach out to a psychologist for help as soon as possible before it escalates into something worse.

We made mention earlier that you need a psychologist when you have mental and behavioral issues, but we did not mention what those mental and behavioral issues could be. Let us show you some physical reasons why you need to see a psychologist.

Some of these reasons are very common and if you know anyone going through the same thing then you need to refer the person to a psychologist. If you are the one having these reasons, then you need to see a psychologist.


Depression is one thing that you need to look out for, not just in others, but also in yourself. What actually is depression? It is simply put as when one experiences sadness for an unusually prolonged period of time.

It is possible to get sad for a moment, that could be as a result of something bad that must have happened. But when that sadness is prolonged in an unusual way, then you can say that the person is in depression. When this happens, you know that at this stage you need to see a psychologist.

When you have long-lasting sadness, those things that used to give you joy and make you feel good will suddenly stop making you happy. This is as a result of the prolonged sadness. This is not good at all and it is a very obvious sign that one needs to see a psychologist.

If there is someone you know that is experiencing this, then you should find a way to refer the person to a Psychologist immediately. If you do not refer to a psychologist in due time the depression may result in something that will be more difficult to handle.

Excess Stress

This could come as a result of having a very bad job that you do not enjoy. When you get to go to a job you hate for a prolonged period of time, you start to get angry and you may not have enough time to spend on yourself to take good care of yourself. This also leads to stress.

Another thing that causes this stress is an unhealthy lifestyle, when you do not eat right, you do not rest well, you fight a lot, this could lead to stress as well. To avoid stress, you need to avoid any of these causes we have just talked about above.

When the stress begins to get too much, it could aggravate from stress to causing you social withdrawal which could result in what we talked about at the beginning – depression. To help someone in this situation you need to refer them to a psychologist as soon as possible.

The psychologist will then examine the person and prescribe possible behavioral changes that the person can adopt in order to get good results.

Unusual Phobia

This is something that you may not see often, but it happens a whole lot. There are common phobias that we know about, like that of being afraid of height and dark places, but there are some unusual ones that when one has it could create problems in one’s life that could make you need a psychologist. One of those unusual phobias is Sitophobia.

This is referred to as the fear of eating. When one has this phobia, it could result in the person not eating at all, thereby causing more health damages. When you notice that someone has this, then you need to refer the person to a psychologist as soon as possible.

However, if you are the one experiencing this, you need to seek help and make sure you do not bottle everything up. You should speak out so that you can get help.

Excessive Anxiety

Simply put, anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress. It is also referred to as a feeling of fear about what is to happen or an event that is to happen in the future.

Anxiety usually lasts about ten minutes, but when the anxiety becomes excessive that it lasts thirty minutes up to an hour, then you know that this is excessive anxiety and the person involved needs to see a psychologist.

Excess worrying about your finances, thinking too much about the death of a loved one, or worrying too much about something that is yet to happen, are some of the events that could cause anxiety If you are the one experiencing this you should meet with a psychologist as soon as possible.

When you meet with the psychologist, you both will have a conversation and he will provide you with a possible behavioral solution that will help to curb the excessive anxiety.

These four signs are how you will know that one needs to see a psychologist. There are more to it, but the ones that we explained here are the ones that are very common and the ones that you will notice regularly.

After seeing a psychologist, he may then determine whether what you need is therapy or you may need to be referred to a psychiatrist.

Are psychiatrists expensive?

Can You See a Psychologist Without a Referral?

The general cost of seeing a psychiatrist depends solely on where you live. Since the cost depends on where you live, let us talk about it generally, in Nigerian and then in the US.

Psychiatric cost in Nigeria

Generally, seeing a psychiatrist is not cheap. That automatically means that it is usually expensive but at the same time affordable by many.

If you are in Nigeria, when you need psychiatric care in a private clinic, you may need to buy a card for about N10,000 ($21) before you can even get into seeing a psychiatrist.

Most times, why psychiatric care is expensive is because of the extensive medical training and experience they have. You will notice that their rates are higher than those of other mental health providers. In other words, we can say that you are paying for a higher level of expertise and care.

In Nigeria, Psychiatric hospital admission is usually expensive as well, we talked about that earlier. The estimated cost is about N$3,000 per admission which is equivalent to N1.44 million.

This is considered expensive and not everyone that is having mental health problems can afford to get psychiatric care in the hospital. The high cost of psychiatric care is not just in Nigeria alone, but also around the world.

Psychiatric cost in the US

In the US, a 45-minute consultation with a psychiatrist costs $269. If you want to go for something less expensive, you can go for a follow-up 15-minute consultation which costs about $99. In this post, BetterHelp explains how much it costs to see a psychiatrist in the U.S, and what you need to know before paying a psychiatrist a visit.

What is usually recommended is an initial consultation with the team of psychiatrists so that they can provide an appropriate assessment and thereafter treatment.

Final words

Can You See a Psychologist Without a Referral?

We have made it clear at the beginning of this article that you can see a psychologist without a referral. This is a very good thing because what it does is that it helps to improve how easy it is for someone to access psychological therapy.

If it was not this way, it would have been difficult for some set of people to gain access to a psychologist. But because of this, you will be able to see a psychologist without a referral.  That is a very good advantage and advancement that some other important fields need to adopt.

We also talked about how to know when one needs psychiatric care and the cost of a psychiatrist in the event that situations degenerate to the point where there is a need to be referred to one.


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