Finding the right therapist for your individual counseling is crucial, but how do you know what to look for in a mental health professional? Here are some of our go-to questions for determining whether a therapist is the right fit for your needs.
What Is Your Background?
Think of choosing your therapist and the consultation as something akin to a first date. You want to get to know the basic details of the other person and learn if your values align. With a therapist, the same is important. Additionally you may want to know more about their education and experience. Don’t be afraid to ask about how long they’ve practiced therapy for. Getting to know a person’s history and level of experience can be a comforting thing to many prospective patients.
Do You Offer Online Sessions?
In the modern era, finding a therapist who offers some or all online sessions isn’t usually very difficult, but it doesn’t hurt to know. Online sessions are incredibly helpful for people with disabilities or who don’t own reliable transportation. Additionally, you can’t always factor in the unexpected, so even if you’ve got your own car, a bad winter storm or a flat tire can still keep you from physically meeting. Having the option to take a session online can be good reassurance.
What Will My Sessions Be Like?
Depending on your needs, your session can vary from what you may consider to be the norm. Some sessions are all talk, rather straightforward and traditional. Others may include exercises and role-playing that may feel confrontational at times. Setting your expectations early for what your therapy sessions will be like can be immensely helpful. Asking the question can also bring up things you’re unsure about. Does the idea of doing “homework” after a session sound like too much for your busy life? Maybe now that you know, you can learn more about what this really means. If it’s still not for you, then you’ve ruled out one option in your search.
Can You Prescribe Medication?
More and more psychotherapy involves prescription medication. This is especially true for issues like ADHD, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. A therapist doesn’t necessarily have to be a psychiatrist to recommend medication, though only a psychiatrist can prescribe it. Therapists will still want to be aware of any medication you take. They can make recommendations, but not all therapists will suggest medication. That decision depends on your needs, the type of treatment you’re undergoing, and a variety of other factors.
Do You Think We’re a Good Fit?
While it may seem confrontational, as you wrap up a consultation, it’s a good thing to ask. Finding out what your therapist thinks about your compatibility with their treatment is crucial. Therapists are interested in your well-being, and if they don’t believe what they offer is right for you, they’ll tell you. Therapists can refuse treatment with anyone they wish, just as you can discontinue treatment at any time. Therapists specialize in a variety of conditions and issues, so don’t take rejection personally. Just as you’re making a decision about who to go with, a therapist is planning your treatment and determining if they’re right for you. Let your instincts guide you, but don’t discredit what your therapist thinks about your future.
There are dozens of questions you can ask your therapist that we haven’t covered, but these are some of the best for determining whether a particular therapist is right for you. Ready to schedule a consultation or have more questions? Give us a call at SOL Mental Health today, and get started on your mental health journey.