So, you are ready to pursue therapy, but where do you start? Well…let me tell you all about it.
First and foremost, you can search for therapists through websites like Psychology Today or Good Therapy. Depending on where you live, there may also be a local directory of psychotherapists available. You can also obtain a list of therapists through your insurance.
I would highly recommend also looking at the therapist’s personal website if one is available. This will help you find the most updated information, such as a change in hourly rate, modalities offered, a change in office hours, etc.
Most therapists offer a brief consultation over the phone (and sometimes in-person). This is your opportunity to ask questions about the therapist before making a decision and the therapist’s opportunity to do the same. During this conversation, you may jointly come to a conclusion about whether you might be a good fit, or you may even decide to speak to a few other individuals before making a decision.
Here are a few questions to ask to get to you know your therapist –
- What is your niche/area of focus?
- What is your counseling style?
- What modalities do you use? If you are unfamiliar with a modality, ask the therapist to briefly describe it and how it would be implemented for what you are seeking.
- What is your hourly rate?
- Do you accept insurance? If not, do you offer help with seeking reimbursement?
- Do you offer sliding scale?
- What are your office hours? When are you available? You may negotiate a weekly schedule at this point or wait to do so until you have had a couple of sessions.
As the first few sessions may focus on gathering information, getting to know each other, discussing policies, and completing paperwork, it may take about 4-6 sessions to get used to and learn about a therapist’s style, and to decide whether they are a good fit for you. Some of you may realize much sooner than the 4-6 weeks whether you want to continue to work together with your therapist. Either way, if you find that a therapist is not a good fit for you, you have the right to end your sessions and look for another individual. I always recommend being clear about wanting to end your work together – you will not hurt your therapist’s feelings. We already know that we aren’t a good fit for everyone!
To learn about the most important question to ask during your therapist search, stay tuned.