Do you believe that you have to randomly call therapists until you find one who will be right for you? Have you been to several therapists who haven’t worked out well for you? Finding the right therapist is a daunting task, right?
Fortunately, this is not true. When we believe that it is luck of the draw to find a “good” therapist or one that is good for YOU more specifically, we set ourselves up for frustration and waste time and money…something nobody has an abundance of these days.
The downsides to choosing a therapist randomly out of the phone book (or online directory) above and beyond wasted time and money, and frustration with having to start over when you look for a new therapist, include stress on your family, more time struggling with whatever you are looking to get help with, and feelings of hopelessness.
Not only does living with the belief that finding the right therapist for you is luck of the draw affect you in the above ways, but we may also start to become more cynical, believe therapy doesn’t work, and may even give up on therapy. We may encourage loved ones not to attend therapy either as it “doesn’t work.”
Perhaps you’ve been to several therapists and didn’t get the help you needed. Perhaps the therapist didn’t seem to listen to you and had their own agenda: “Let’s do meditation work” when you don’t want to do meditation work. “But it’s so helpful.” Yes, this may be so, but not what you’re looking for.
At the time it may have been awfully frustrating. You came to therapy to get a goal met and the therapist is pushing you to do something you don’t want. That doesn’t feel good (and isn’t helpful).
Unfortunately, these bad experiences will add up and can solidify your beliefs about therapy. Eventually, you end up hopeless about therapy and may give up on the whole process.
The truth is, there are many therapists out there with different personalities, different beliefs, and different techniques they work with. You are not alone and it is completely normal for you to feel unsure about therapy based on previous experiences, or experiences of other’s you’ve listened to.
Even though you are feeling a bit skeptical about therapy, there are several things that can help you cut through the jibber and find the right therapist for you without too much effort, wasted time and wasted money. When we ask the therapist we call these five questions, it is entirely possible to find the right therapist the first time and get your goals met with as little time and money spent as possible.
Keep reading for the top 5 questions to ask when you call a therapist so you can start meeting your goals quickly and efficiently.
ARE YOU FLOUNDERING AROUND LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT THERAPIST? DO YOU FEEL FRUSTRATED WITH THE PROCESS?
The biggest downside to not asking these five questions is getting frustrated with the therapy process. You might go to several therapists before finding the right one for you. Or you may not feel comfortable telling the therapist you don’t want to continue, eventually dropping out.
At the very least, you aren’t getting your goals met in a timely and efficient way. Living this way can feel irritating. People say that therapy works. They say you should not feel guilty for needing to go. But when you’re not getting your goals met, you may start to believe therapy doesn’t work. You may start to think people are incorrect, or it only works for some people and not others.
YOU ARE READY TO LIVE YOUR LIFE ON YOUR TERMS, NOT BOGGED DOWN BY YOUR FEELINGS, THOUGHTS, AND BEHAVIORS.
Although you struggle with finding the right therapist, you have the potential to break this cycle. You have the ability to move forward with your life quickly and efficiently. You do not have to waste time and money. You do not have to work too hard to find the therapist who will work best with you.
When we know some of the right questions to ask, finding the right therapist becomes easier and quicker. Even if who you call isn’t the right therapist, they can often refer you to someone they know who is a better fit for you because they know what you are looking for.
You have the opportunity to not waste time and money going to several therapists looking for the right one. You have the ability to ask the right questions and get to the right person quickly.
TOP 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN YOU CALL A THERAPIST TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS QUICKLY AND EFFICIENTLY
You may have been to therapy before, or you may be starting out. Either way, it is not uncommon to go to several therapists before finding the right one.
The key to not having to do this is by asking the right questions of the therapist you call. The therapist may ask you questions as well in order to find out whether they feel you are a good fit together.
Asking these questions isn’t too difficult because if you don’t like the answer, you will never see the person. There is nothing to lose and nothing to feel guilty or embarrassed over. Most therapists appreciate that you are looking for the right therapist so their time isn’t wasted either.
Check out these 5 questions to ask so you can achieve your goals quickly and efficiently
- What do you specialize in?
This is a good question because therapists are fully capable of helping everyone. We are trained in techniques that will help children through elderly and every diagnosis. We are trained similarly to a general practitioner.
However, like a general practitioner, we can’t specialize in everything. If you want your goals met quickly, going to someone who specializes in your needs will get you in and out of therapy more quickly.
When we specialize in something, for
2. Have you treated others with what I’m dealing with?
This goes along with the specialty but is a bit more focused. Ask the therapist about this. How long do you expect therapy will last based on past experience?
This question digs a bit deeper than just asking what their specialty is. If someone has anxiety, that anxiety may come from a specific trigger, or it may be more generalized. Treating general anxiety and specific anxiety, whereas it is similar, may take different techniques, different lengths of treatment, and different approaches.
Asking this question can give you a clue as to approximately how long you’ll be in therapy and what you can expect from therapy.
3. Do you participate in consultation or talk with other therapists to gain additional insights?
A therapist who participates in consultation does so with confidentiality paramount. When they discuss a client with other therapists to gain insight or ideas, they talk in generalities and do not give names, demographic, or other identifying information.
Asking the therapist whether they participate in consultation is important because you have an idea that the therapist is genuinely out to help you. Nobody knows everything and we can get wrapped up in other factors of the situation that can be caught by someone who is only hearing the facts.
When a therapist participates in consultation, you can be sure that they value the time you spend together and they want to make sure they don’t miss something that may help you meet your goals quickly.
4. Why do you think you are the best therapist for me?
I know you are calling them, but this is a great question to ask. You want to interview the therapist just as much as they should be interviewing you. When the therapist answers this question, it will give you a lot of insight into what this therapist will be like to work with.
You may get information on what techniques the therapist uses, you might get information on what the therapeutic process looks like with this therapist, or you might get information on how long you will stay in therapy. Whatever the case, you are likely to learn more about the therapist and will have a better understanding of that therapist and whether you will be a good fit together.
5. What do you do if one or both of us think you are not the right therapist?
This is a very good question. Often clients don’t want to make the therapist feel bad by saying they don’t want to continue with the therapist. Please remember that the therapist is here to help you. I would hope that the therapist would not force you to stay with them if you do not want to.
Knowing the answer to this question can make it easier to bring it up if you do feel like things aren’t going well. It also helps you understand up front what the therapist will do…refer you to someone else, provide you with resources, want to do a final session, etc.
Achieving your goals quickly and efficiently can be a positive and relatively easy process. You absolutely can get your goals met and not need to attend therapy forever. In fact, insurances are frequently cutting down how much therapy you can have per year. If that’s the case and you are using your insurance, wouldn’t you want to go to someone who can solve your problem quickly?
If you haven’t read my blog from last week, Why are Therapists Increasingly Not on Insurance Panels, I recommend doing so. When you arm yourself with the information from these two blogs, you will have the information you need to find the right therapist for you. You will know the questions to ask, and what to look for. You will not flounder around, wasting time, money and effort.
Here at Meg Young, LCSW, PLLC, I focus on you, the client. I very much want to make sure you have a positive therapeutic experience, which is why I write these blogs. Knowledge is power, right? The more you know about what to expect with therapy, why therapists are going private pay, what online counseling is about, what to ask a therapist, etc, the better equipped you’ll be to find a good therapist for you.
If you just want to find out more information or if you know what type of therapist you are looking for, but don’t know who to call, call me at 941-462-4807 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I frequently collaborate with therapists throughout the country and can help you find somebody. If I do not know someone specific to your needs, I still likely know a therapist I trust in your state who I can refer you to. That person will know other therapists in your state who they can refer you to.
If you have any questions about this blog or about anything at all, or if you are looking to schedule an appointment, call me at 941-462-4807 or email me at email@example.com.