Finding a therapist is hard. Finding a therapist you “vibe” with can be even more difficult. Between searching online, finding someone who will answer your call, to even getting an appointment that works for both of your schedules, it’s overwhelming. Then, you get into the room. The therapist asks questions, gives you information, and asks if you have any questions. If you are anything like me, you go blank. But, you are allowed to ask this person who will be a part of your care team questions to ensure you get the best care with them. In this blog, we will go over some questions you can ask your therapist during the first few sessions to ensure they are the right fit for you.
You can ask your therapist anything; the questions we discuss in this blog aren’t the only questions you should ask or need to be asked. This is to help you find questions that work for you and get you started in advocating for your care. Now, not every therapist will answer all of your questions. This will depend on the therapist and ultimately be based on their preferences regarding disclosure with their clients. Every therapist is different. But it never hurts to ask.
1. How many years of experience do you have as a therapist?
This is important because you need to know your therapist’s credentials. There are three types of licensure a therapist can have. Those are LMFT, LPC, or LCSW. Not every therapist is fully licensed. Therapists learn by doing, so there are incredible therapists at every degree level and with different types of licensure. Regarding your care, you have the right to ask and know where your therapist is on their track.
2. How much experience do you have in treating concerns like mine?
You are bringing another person into your healthcare team, and you have every right to know the amount of experience the therapist has had with your concerns. I will remind you that therapists learn through doing, so even if they don’t have much experience with your concerns, it doesn’t mean you need a different therapist. No matter what, you are in charge of your care, and if you would rather have a more experienced clinician, you are always supported in advocating for yourself. This will also help start the conversation on what treatment will look like and what the therapist has in mind for your care.
3. How often would we meet for therapy?
Therapy is expensive and an investment. I think it’s important to talk about how often you attend therapy. Every therapist is unique and has a process. Some therapists will suggest a set number of sessions weekly to start the therapeutic process and see what can be achieved. Other therapists will follow the client’s lead and ask what works best for the client. Both are great methods and can be discussed in the session.
4. What Treatment Modalities do you use?
There are many different models of therapy. According to Psychology Today, there are around 70 modalities. Depending on the therapist, they will either choose one model of therapy or have a select few that they have identified with and use with clients. You are welcome to discuss these models of therapy with your clinician. The models they use will impact you and help you understand the structure of sessions. However, if you are looking for a specific therapy model, this question will help you decide if the therapist is the right fit.
5. Do you see a Therapist?
This seems like a very personal question, and it is. However, it is also extremely important. Find a new therapist if a therapist says they have never been to therapy. Therapists must understand what it is like to sit on the couch instead of the chair. I have mentioned countless times in this blog how therapists learn by doing; this is the same concept. All therapists in graduate school are encouraged to attend therapy and maintain a relationship with a therapist because it is important for our mental health. Do not be concerned if the answer is, “not right now” or “my therapy is paused for now.” That is a green light as long as the therapist has experienced therapy.
While there are many questions you can ask your therapist, this is to get you started and get the ball rolling. You are forging a new relationship, and you have the right to ask what that process will look like. So please, ask the questions, and get curious because you always have the right to advocate for yourself.