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A couple of years ago, during a time when I was working long hours and was very stressed, I had significant difficulty coping in a healthy way.

I did some research online about coping with stress and exercising and sleeping enough and working less and now I'm doing a lot better.

It didn't really occur to me to get help when I wasn't coping back then. However, I am concerned that in the future this could happen again.

I would like to see a psychologist now, so that I can meet them and get to know them, and feel comfortable with them so that in the future if I do have trouble coping, I feel comfortable enough to do get help. Would it be OK to see a psychologist as a mentally healthy person? I'm worried that they will wonder why I'm there if I'm fine.

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You express insight into your weaknesses in coping with stress, and a desire to build healthier coping mechanisms. A person does not need to be in the acute phase of a psychological problem to seek therapy for it.

Prevention is part of psychology.

Even Wikipedia lists prevention in the definition of clinical psychology.

In health fields, primary prevention tries to prevent something from happening the first time. Secondary prevention tries to prevent something from happening a subsequent time - as in your situation, where you identified that you've already experienced difficulties.

But even if you had never experienced difficulties, seeking to improve one's own coping skills to prevent future problems is primary prevention - which is generally ENCOURAGED. I can't find Academy recommendations specifically for this, but many (if not all) of the 25+ therapists I've worked alongside in clinic encourage early/preventive counseling.

Psychologists (PsyD or PhD) are not the only ones who do behavioral therapy, similarly trained therapists include MFT, MSW, LSW, etc.

Lastly, and purely anecdotally, I will gladly disclose that I established a relationship with a therapist myself for preventive counseling a few times during these 7 years of medical training, and have found it to be extremely valuable when navigating the extreme stressors.

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  • In my case it was the desire to self-harm. I am usually a really optimistic person and have never even thought about something like that but one day it was this really strong compulsion. it freaked me out and I realized I need to be much more serious about coping with stress and not pushing myself too hard. – user5080 Jan 22 '17 at 14:42

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