This is part two of a four part series on how to find a therapist and make the most of your therapy sessions.
- Part One: When to Seek Therapy
- Part Three: Help Yourself
- Part Four: Ending Therapy and Saying Good-Bye
The next step after you decide why and if you want therapy is to make a list of possible therapists and interview them. You can begin your search by asking your doctor or other health care professional as well as family and friends. You can ask your clergy or call your insurance company. If you are not comfortable approaching someone you can look on the Internet for mental health agencies or referral services. It takes courage to make that phone call. When you call take some time to evaluate how you felt when you were talking to the therapist. Also, many therapists offer a free consultation.
Questions for Interviewing a Therapist
- Do you have openings? How soon can you get me in? How long is the wait?
- Are you available for appointments on weekends? Evenings?
- Do you charge for an initial appointment? How much?
- What is your fee? Do you take reduced sliding fee clients? Is there a cash discount? Do you take credit cards? Must I pay in full at the time of service, or can I make partial payments?
- How long are your sessions? 45, 50, 55, 60 minutes?
- Are you in my insurance plan’s mental/behavioral health network? Do you file my insurance claims for me? Can I just pay my insurance co-payment?
- What is your theoretical orientation for doing therapy? Freudian? Psycho-dynamic? Behavioral? Cognitive? Systemic? Humanistic? Existential? Trans-personal? Ask them to explain the difference. A combination can sometimes be best.
- How long have you been practicing psychotherapy? Are you licensed? Do you have a consulting supervisor? What is your experience with my kind of problems?
- What’s the expected time frame in order to treat my kind of problem? Is it a long term or short term course of treatment? What results could I expect?
- What’s your preferred style for doing therapy? Individual? Group? Family? Weekly? Monthly?
- Where do you practice? Private office, hospital, clinic, agency, group practice? Is there free parking? Near a bus route?
- Are you available for emergencies by phone? Do you charge for phone calls? Reading emails?
- What is your policy for cancellations, lateness, forgetting or changing appointments?What do they think is usually the cause of most people’s problems
If you have other questions you believe are important to ask I would like to add them to the list. I am eager to hear your ideas.