From time to time, everyone can benefit from talking with a therapist. Life offers many opportunities for growth and change, along with challenges, disappointments, and heartbreaks. As a therapist, I know that there are questions I would like a client to ask that will help us to determine whether we can work together successfully.
Therapy Requires Trust
The therapeutic alliance is based on trust. This is important because the goal of therapy is to improve the individual’s quality of life, which requires trust between the therapist and the client.
If you had an illness, you would most likely choose to see a specialist in that field. If you had cancer, you would choose a doctor who was skilled and knowledgeable about the particular cancer you had. You trust the doctor to take care of you, whether you like him personally or not. But when you are seeking to find a therapist it is important that you also establish rapport with your therapist because therapy is collaborative.
Before seeking therapy, check with a physician to make sure that some of the symptoms you are experiencing are not related to a medical problem. Once you know that they are not, then the next step is to find a therapist you can relate to.
Points to Consider in Finding a Therapist
Here are some things to consider when choosing a therapist:
If using your insurance is important to you, then you want to find a therapist who accepts your insurance. If not, ask about fees.
How does the therapist accept payment? For example, will they bill your insurance? Or, if you don’t have insurance, when is payment expected and what types of payment are accepted – cash, checks, credit cards?
2) Competence and Experience
Additionally, you will want to know whether the therapist is licensed and how long they have been in practice.
Try to get two or three referrals. Every therapist is different and their approach will also be different. Many therapists will offer over-the-phone or in-person brief consults during which you can ask these questions.
Ask about their experience with the types of problems you are experiencing. This will give you an indication of whether or not they can help you. You may also want to know what approach to therapy they use for the problems you are experiencing, and what success they have had.
3) Expectations in Therapy
If you hate homework, check with the therapist to see if their brand of therapy includes lots of outside session work.
You may occasionally want to bring someone else to a session with you. Ask if that is okay. Most therapists won’t have a problem with having someone else in the session from time to time if this is necessary for the therapeutic process.
You will want to know how confidential therapy is. What has to be disclosed, and to whom? For example, if you get help through your company’s employee assistance program, will your boss know what is discussed?
If spirituality is important to you, ask whether the therapist can work with you in this. You will want to connect on the basis of faith with someone who shares your beliefs.
6) A Therapist for You
Ask them if they can help you with your specific problem. This is the most important question of all. In order to get the most help, you want to know whether they have expertise and knowledge about the problem you are experiencing.
If you have asked all these questions and feel confident in your choice, then go for it. You are not looking for a cookie cutter approach to your problem. Instead, you need to feel that you are recognized as an individual with unique problems. No one therapy will work for everybody, but there are some therapies that work better than most for certain types of problems.
When seeking to find a therapist, keep looking until you find the right fit for you. And don’t be afraid to tell the therapist when something is not working for you. Finding a good therapist may take a little time, but the effort will be worth it. No matter how big or small your problem is, there is someone out there who can help.
Finding a Therapist at Bothell Christian Counseling
We at Bothell Christian Counseling have years of experience and knowledge and are here to help with your healing.
“Free Therapy Picture,” courtesy of Therapy and Counseling Free Photos Photostream, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0); “Better Than Therapy,” courtesy of Wendy, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY-SA 2.0)