There is going to come a point in pretty much every person’s life where they feel overwhelmed and require the help of a professional in dealing with their problems. Your issues may have escalated beyond your control, whether it is relationship problems, work troubles, illness, or just general stress or depression. Psychotherapy can be hugely helpful in overcoming the obstacle more quickly and in a healthier way.
Finding the right therapist can certainly be a challenge, so here are some questions to start with that can help you find the right person. Below are five questions to ask a therapist about their job:
1. Are licensed and how many years have you been practicing?
Navigating the various licenses and distinctions within the world of psychology can be confusing. If you’re going to be paying top dollar though, you want to make sure you have found someone who has the right kind of education to actually help you.
When it comes to a licensed psychotherapist, part of their professional training will include completing a supervised clinical internship in a hospital or organized health setting before they can practice independently in any health care arena. This is an important step because it means that another trusted practitioner in the field has given them the support and go-ahead to begin practicing on their own.
2. What are your areas of expertise and what kind of people have you helped?
Depending on what kind of problems you are experiencing, you want to know that you’re dealing with someone who has treated patients with similar issues and will know how best to proceed once they understand the specifics of your situation.
Are your problems mostly related to work, your marriage, eating, sleeping? Tell them what it is you’re struggling with and ask about experience they have in treating it. They should also be able to outline their area of expertise. Do they, for example, have experience with working with children or are they primarily focused on helping couples resolve relationship issues.
3. What kinds of treatments do you use?
Before you get too far into the process, you want to make that you’re going to be comfortable with the types of treatment they intend on using. They should be able to provide specific information about the different types of treatment they believe in and provide examples of when these treatments have been successful for them in the past.
Make sure that if the treatment they’re discussing has proven effective, it was when dealing with a similar problem or issues to the kind you’re experiencing.
4. What are your fees?
Keep in mind that there can be a fairly large discrepancy in this field throughout the industry, so it is important to discuss money upfront. They should usually outline cost based on a 45 to 60-minute session and should inform you right away whether they have a sliding-scale fee policy or not.
Make sure to do a bit of research to see what the going rate for psychotherapy is your area. Although prices do vary, you should be suspicious of anyone who is offering services very high above or very low below the average rate. Don’t be shy about asking them to explain their pricing policy to you.
5. What type of insurance do you accept?
If you’re hoping to have your treatment covered by your insurance company, establish whether or not your form of insurance will be accepted by this therapist before you waste too much time going over other details. Determine whether or not they will accept direct billing to or payment from your insurance company and whether or not they are affiliated with any managed care organizations.