6 Questions to Ask Your Therapist
Choosing to finally start seeing a counsellor or therapist is a brave decision. However, once you have decided to talk to a professional about your concerns, you might be faced with the difficult task of finding a therapist who is right for you. If this is the first time you are seeking professional help for your emotional well-being, it is quite natural for you to be unsure about the process of therapy. You might also have specific concerns about your privacy being maintained or whether a certain kind of therapy is ideal for you. It is important that you clarify these concerns with your therapist. We’ve compiled a list of questions you can ask your therapist before you begin the process. These can help you decide if a particular therapist is the right fit for you or not.
1. What sort of training have you had?
Many therapists and counsellors, especially in India, are not qualified or licensed to practise therapy. Ensure that your therapist has at least a Master’s Degree in Clinical or Counselling Psychology. An MPhil or PhD would indicate more intensive training and experience. You can also ask them how many years of experience they have in the field.
2. Have you worked with the kind of problem I am currently facing?
Therapists often have different areas and levels of expertise. It is important to assess your therapist’s experience in the situation you are grappling with. You could state the problem for them in a few sentences and ask them how much experience they have had dealing with similar issues. Your therapist might choose to ask you more specific questions to elicit some more information. They would then be able to give you their impression about your problem and tell you whether they have had experience working with similar problems before.
3. Do you follow any particular therapeutic orientation?
While many therapists follow an eclectic approach - one that includes a number of different therapeutic theories, they might have one particular approach they tend to use more than others. It might help if you ask and read up on some of these before you start visiting your therapist, to gain a better understanding of the process. Some common orientations are thought-based approaches (eg: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy), behavioural approaches, client-centred approaches and psychodynamic approaches. You could even ask your therapist to help you with reading resources for the same.
4. How will I know if it’s helping?
You might want to know how to judge your own progress in therapy. Your therapist should be able to convey a clear understanding of how to assess progress during a session and between sessions too. Since therapy is a goal-oriented process, you and your therapist usually collaboratively set these goals and demarcate indicators of progress. Although this might not always take place in such a neat fashion, your therapist should be able to explain to you what you are working on in sessions, and what kind of change you might expect to see.
5. What is my role in the process?
Clients are not passive listeners within a therapy session. You get to play an active role in your treatment and your therapist should make that clear to you. Whether it’s completing homework, deciding what you’d like to work on, deciding against a particular intervention - a good session will allow you to make the important choices. Ask your therapist questions about what you should do before the next session or any other questions you might have about specific goals.
6. What is your confidentiality policy?
Your therapist should respect a 100% confidentiality policy. However, there are certain situations in which a therapist can break confidentiality. For example, if they feel like you are a danger to yourself or the people around you. You can ask them to explain this policy to you before you make a decision to begin seeing them.
If you’re looking for the right therapist, InnerHour can help. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +91 9820230563.
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