Finding the right therapist for you is important! Research shows that part of a client’s success from therapy, is how comfortable he or she feels with his or her therapist
Feeling comfortable and trusting your therapist will help you in your journey is an important factor in the therapy process.
But how do you find the “right” therapist for you? I have come up with a few questions you could ask when scheduling your first appointment or during your first session.
What type of license do you have?
Not every counselor or therapist is trained the same. It’s important to know that you are getting help from someone who is trained in what you are needing help with. Here are a few professions that you may hear about and a brief description on each.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) has completed 1,500 hours of direct therapy hours and 1,500 of indirect hours (i.e. paperwork, training, etc.) under supervision and graduate work was focused on a systemic view. Part of the licensure process is to make sure that 750 out of the 1500 direct client hours are relational (i.e. the client is a couple, family, sibling group, or in some relationship). Graduate training focused on how to work with individuals, couples and families. A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate (LMFTA) is under supervision and working towards completing the required 3,000 hours.
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) has completed 3,000 hours under supervision. They also have to complete 1,500 direct client hours, but these can all be individual base. The remaining 1,500 hours are indirect as well (i.e. paperwork, training, etc.) A Licensed Professional Counselor Intern (LPC-I) is working towards full licensure under supervision.
Licensed Psychologist has completed 3,500 hours under supervision and has a doctorate degree. Psychologist are likely to do testing and having training in psychology.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) has completed 100 hours of supervision. LCSW’s have a broader view and training in graduate school. Most seek out further training post graduate work.
To get more information, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services.
What type of training do you have?
Depending on the license, a therapist’s focus in therapy can be very different. If you are looking for someone who specializes in working with kids, consider if they do Play Therapy or Family Therapy. If you are looking for someone to help with your marriage, consider what license they have and ask what therapy model they primarily use.
What theoretical approach do you use?
As a client, you have every right to ask what therapy model/approach is being used. A therapist should also be able to describe this in everyday terms. If they say they utilize Emotion-Focused Therapy, that probably doesn’t mean much to you and doesn’t exactly help you understand how you will be helped.
What are the first 3 sessions like?
This will help you gain some insight on what to expect. Each therapist and counselor have a different approach, and this should match what you are looking for. For example, some therapists have treatment plans as a way to measure your progress, while some just listen to your story, and others have a set plan for how they will help you.
What areas do you specialize in?
Most therapists are really good at a few things and it’s difficult to know how to effectively address every problem. By asking this question, you will be able to know if they are a good fit for you and avoid a possible referral and change in therapist in the future.
Do you have a cancellation or no-show policy?
This is good to know if in the case you find that your work schedule changes often or may have problems with transportation. Some therapist and counselors charge if you cancel within a certain time frame, so be sure you get this information.
Hope this information is helpful in your decision process. It’s important to know that your relationship with your therapist is an important factor in your therapy journey. Just like many other relationships, sometimes your relationship with your therapist may not work out or you may feel uncomfortable. If this happens, bring it up and talk about the differences you are experiencing. Or if you find that a therapist you are calling is not the right fit for you, ask if they have a possible referral for you.
I specialize in working with couples and individuals to restore their relationships by utilizing research-based therapy techniques. Feel free to look at the online services offered through Modern Wellness Counseling and check out the client portal to conveniently schedule your next appointment.