"Family and Couple Therapy Center, how can I help you?"
"I don't know. I'm looking for a therapist but I don't know what to ask you."
"No problem! Here is what you should ask me."
That's usually how it goes. I get countless calls from people who are brave and take the first step to reach out and make an appointment...but they don't always know what they need or how to find a good therapist. I put together a list of common questions you could ask a therapist. Remember, these are simply some considerations.
What to look for in your relationship with your therapist?
You have to have trust, feel comfortable, be willing to say what you really think and challenge when you disagree. Don't be afraid to find the right therapist. You may have to try more than one counseling experience to learn what you are really looking for.
How to search:
You can get referrals from friends, family, your primary-care physician, or by searching online. There are tons of great search engines out there specifically for finding a therapist that allow you to search by payment type, location, and speciality. Once you found a few therapists to call or email, start thinking about what kinds of questions you have.
Here is a sample of questions you can ask:
- How long have you been practicing? Have you worked in other capacities besides private practice?
- What type of license do you have?
- Can you tell me more about that license?
- You say that you do couple and family counseling, what type of training or specialization did you have?
- I identify as (insert) have you worked with this population before?
- How do you approach working with clients who hold different identities than your own?
- How long are sessions? What are your hours?
- What types of payment do you accept?
- How interactive are you as a therapist? Do you provide assignments?
- Have you worked with someone who has experienced (insert issue: affairs, eating disorders, cutting, depression, anxiety, parenting, etc.)
How to taper your own exceptions:
- Your therapist is not your friend, they are your therapist. Healthy boundaries make for good therapy.
- Do not expect a miracle after 60 min.
- The work you do in between sessions is just as important as sessions themselves!
- Your therapist will not give you the answers, you will explore together considerations for making decisions.
- Therapy brings up emotions that you may not have realized were even there. Expect to have some feels, talk to your therapist about how to process and manage through them.