Deciding to seek therapy is a big decision, but an important one. Once you have made this decision, finding a great therapist is the next step, and it can be rather overwhelming. Research shows that the most important factor for success in therapy is the relationship between the therapist and patient/client.
Many therapists advertise a free phone/video consultation so they can hear a bit about why you are seeking therapy and if it is an issue they feel qualified to help you with. This is also an opportunity for them to share how they might help you, and what their therapeutic style is to see if you might be a good fit together. These are some questions you might ask in that initial consultation.
When you are looking on Psychology Today, or google, or any directory to find a therapist and find someone that looks like they might be helpful to you, but they do not advertise a free consultation, you can call and ask them for a few minutes of their time to ask these questions. It could save you from going through the process of completing a bunch of paperwork and meeting with someone who is not a good fit.
- Are you licensed to practice therapy (LPC, LCSW, LMFT, PsyD, PhD) in the state we are currently located in?
- What style of therapy do you practice?
- How would you help me with ______________(anxiety, trauma, stress management, whatever you are seeking support for) and do you have experience working with this particular issue?
For Telehealth (Online Therapy):
- What software do you use for online appointments and is it HIPAA compliant?
HIPAA is basically a policy/law that is in place on a federal level to ensure that healthcare providers and facilities protect patient/client information and allow you to have access to your medical records. It is important to choose a provider who keeps this in mind and protects your information when you are doing online therapy.
- Do you have any specific training in teletherapy?
**A good rule of thumb is that if you find yourself wanting to tell them more, it might be a good fit. If you feel comfortable and that you are being heard and understood, that is a great sign. If not, thank them for their time and share that you are planning to keep looking.
Good luck in your search. Therapy is challenging, but so very worth it in the end!