Tags – Questions to ask your therapist
So you’ve decided: it’s time for therapy, but finding the right therapist for you can be quite the challenge.
After all, you want a place where you can sit with a trained professional and talk about whatever is on your mind and receive the right help and advice.
At the end of the day, therapy is a collaborative process, and the more you feel invested into it, the better opportunity you have to grow.
But, to make the most out of your therapy sessions, there are a few questions you should ask before choosing a therapist.
And, you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable asking questions or expressing your needs either, as therapy is about what you want to do as much as it is about your therapist’s treatment plan.
With that in mind, here are 5 questions you must ask your therapist before starting your treatment.
1. What Training Did You Do?
Therapists and psychologists across the UK will have spent a minimum of three years in training, but usually many will have trained for longer.
A reputable therapist will be registered with a professional membership body, which indicates they practice ethical and professional standards.
In the UK, a counselor does not have to be registered with a professional body, however it does act as a layer of protection for you both. For instance, if you needed to raise a complaint about your therapist, you would contact the regulatory board.
2. Have You Ever Been in Therapy?
It’s important for a therapist to spend some time in their own therapy, even if it’s not required, as this enables them to know what it feels like to be on the other chair.
Generally speaking, this is seen as good practice in therapy and helps them to understand clients’ experiences without projecting their own life experiences.
However, even though asking your therapist whether they’ve had therapy is a valid question, don’t expect to find out any personal or specific information about their experience; a good therapist will set firm boundaries and will not overshare.
3. What is Your Approach?
Before you dive into your sessions, you’ll want to know how your therapist can help you and what their general approach is.
By asking this, you will learn more about their area of expertise, what specific treatment plans they use, as well as what their therapy style and background is like. And, this will help you gauge who they are and decide whether their methods will be a good fit for you.
For example, cognitive behavioural therapy is more focused on immediate issues and looks at relearning behaviours and thought patterns. Treatment for this usually involves learning tools and being given “homework” to practice out in the real world.
On the other hand, psychodynamic therapy looks at the root causes of the issue you’re faced with and focuses on creating a change by looking deeply inwards.
All in all, you will only benefit from therapy if you feel comfortable with the therapist’s style, don’t be scared to ask this question.
4. How Many Sessions Will I Need?
Depending on the style of therapy you choose, the answer will not always be straightforward.
However, your therapist should be able to provide you with a rough idea of how many sessions you may need and suggest a good starting point.
For instance, your therapist may say, “We’ll look at starting with 12 sessions to begin with, and then check-in to see how you’re doing”.
Despite their best intentions, not every therapist will be right for you, and a good therapist should speak if they believe you’re in a place where you’re no longer making progress or if you would be better seeking alternative treatment.
Simply put, a good and reputable therapist will be just as set on getting you better as you are, so be wary of anyone who is hesitant about giving you a rough idea of what kind of timeframe you’ll be looking at.
5. How Should I Prepare For Sessions?
Therapy requires you to put in work both during the session and once you leave.
For example, in cognitive behavioural therapy, you may be tasked to complete worksheets outside of the session.
Similarly, in an insight-oriented approach, your therapist may ask you to simply bring awareness to your emotions and recognise stressful situations, as well as note down any relevant thoughts that crop up in that time.
As such, asking how you should prepare for sessions will give you a better idea of what your therapist expects from you when you walk away.
And, if you feel like these expectations are unreasonable, or will cause you more stress, you can voice this to your therapist as they may be able to suggest alternative methods.
Furthermore, asking this question will also help you understand how to make the most of your therapy and therefore make it more likely to be successful.
Being prepared with the right questions allows you to learn more about your therapist and what they can offer you.
But whilst finding out about their training and expertise helps you make a decision, it’s important you focus on how they make you feel too.
Overall, a good therapist will feel like a partnership, so you need to feel understood, comfortable and have your best interests at heart.
Want to know more? Get in touch today.
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