Choosing a potential therapist is a big deal, and the significance can make the decision feel overwhelming. This article and the accompanying worksheet will help you think through important factors when deciding on a therapist. Many therapists (including our therapists at Here) offer 10 or 15-minute consultations to ask questions and see if a therapist is the right fit for you. These consultations allow you to meet with a therapist or even multiple therapists before making a financial and time investment in a therapeutic relationship.
As a note, therapists set their boundaries and choose what they feel comfortable disclosing. Holding boundaries is their right, AND you can choose not to see a therapist who doesn’t answer questions about important issues.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What is most important to you when choosing a therapist? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. This is your therapist and your journey. You know what matters most. Maybe you have a marginalized identity, and you want to see that identity reflected in your therapist. Perhaps you want a specific type of therapy like EMDR or DBT. Or maybe it’s important to you that you can see a therapist via telehealth to fit a therapy session into your busy schedule. Identify what is important to you and stick by that.
- How do you know when your therapist is a good fit? Maybe you’ve been to therapy before, and you know what makes you feel safe in a therapeutic relationship.
Questions to ask a potential therapist:
- What is your definition of mental health? Psychological theories have different opinions on what mental health is. It is important to ask potential therapists about their definition of mental health so that you can compare it with yours. Knowing the definition helps you see if you and your therapist will have compatible goals.
- What is your theoretical orientation? There are so many theoretical orientations that a therapist can use! A theoretical orientation has specifics on what mental health is, what a therapy session looks like, how much self-disclosure your therapist uses, how frequently you meet, how long the course of therapy is, how they think about psychopathology, and more. You have the right to ask a potential therapist about their theoretical orientation, and a therapist should be able to give you a summary in understandable terminology.
- Have you worked with my issues/mental illnesses before? This is a great question! What experience does this therapist have that will help them work with you? Many reasons could bring you to therapy, and no way that one therapist could specialize in all of the reasons people begin treatment. Even if a therapist has listed a specialty or experience with an issue on their website, you can ask them to discuss this in greater detail.
- Have you worked with my particular identities before? How do you integrate theories or training to better treat and support me? Especially if you have one or more marginalized identities, asking this question is a matter of safety. It is absolutely your right to ask your potential therapist how they create safety in sessions. Does this therapist incorporate anti-racist learning and training? What specific trainings have they attended to learn about your diagnosis? What additional certifications do they have? Whatever information you need to feel safe, you can ask.
- What is the fee for a session? In addition to this question, you might want to know if this therapist accepts insurance or if they’ll provide a superbill for you to submit to your insurance.
- What policies of your practice should I know? Some of these policies could be canceling appts, COVID-19 safety (vaccine requirements, masks, etc.), and ending treatment.
I hope that this article helps you to feel less overwhelmed and more empowered as you search for the therapist that is the right fit for you. If you are interested in learning more about our therapists, click here. If you would like to set up a consultation with one of our therapists, click here.
Questions for your Potential Therapist Worksheet
Want these questions in an easy to use free downloadable worksheet? This worksheet will help you take steps forward in dealing with anxiety. You’ll also get access to all our worksheets in Here Counseling’s Resource Library!