Questions to Ask When Looking For a Therapist 

I’m not sure if anyone has really noticed, but I’ve been pretty absent for a while now. I’ve been going through a rough patch, and honestly haven’t had the motivation to put myself out there much. However, I am strong and I have a lot of great support.

I have been working with a therapist, which I think I mentioned before. I was so nervous and intimidated about how to go about finding the right one. I started by checking out who was covered by my insurance, because that just made sense. I knew I wanted to see a woman, so that helped narrow it further. Then I looked at who was conveniently located, and who had availability after work. The last thing I needed was to take time off work once a week!

I also asked my awesome friend, who is a therapist herself, for some advice on how to choose. She gave me these GREAT questions to ask both the therapists I talked to and myself. My favorite part is that she also gave possible “right” answers to the questions. I wanted to share, just in case anyone else is considering therapy, and she gave me her permission.

For me, the first step of looking and calling was the very hardest. I’m not great at talking and honestly still dread going most weeks, but I always feel better after my sessions.

??????? For the therapist 

What theories/frameworks do you use? Why those theories and not others? (You’re looking for why they think it’s effective, not what they personally like.)

While researching about this, I found that there are so many new techniques and ideas. How do you stay abreast of all this knowledge (looking for “attending training, conferences, reading”)

What role do you think medication plays in mental health? (You’re looking for an answer like “it depends”. Some psychiatrists think “non-compliance” to medication regimens is tantamount to revolt)

I know everyone is different, but what is the time-range for this therapy to show effectiveness?

Have you treated anyone with issues similar to mine? What was the outcome? What ingredients were the cause of that success/failure? How will we measure progress?

What’s expected from me? (For instance, are there homework assignments?)

When do you start thinking about termination (ending the relationship), and what will that look like? (e.g. will it be a shared decision, is there a set number of visits and then review, etc)

??????? For you 

Did you feel heard by the therapist?

Did you feel like the therapist respected you?

Was the therapist condescending?

Did the therapist seem like a real person, or were they playing a role?

Was the therapist passive or active in the session? What do you like better?

Does it seem like the therapist will be open to hearing about all your feelings, including frustrated feelings relating to them?

Did the therapist have a positive outlook on life?

Did you feel better or worse after the session?

Did you feel comfortable with the therapist?

Does this seem like a safe place to express your thoughts, concerns, and feelings?

I didn’t ask all of these questions, but even thinking about them helped me realize more about what I was looking for. Good luck in your journey!

Jillian