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Finding the Right Therapist: 22 Questions You Didn't Know You Could Ask

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min read

If you're considering therapy for the first time, you likely have a lot of questions about how the process will work. Directing these questions to your therapist is completely normal and highly recommended — they should be more than willing to answer your questions about logistics, expectations, and everything in between.

If you think of questions during your search for a therapist or before your first session, it may be beneficial to write them down, so you feel equipped during your first meeting. If you're unsure what to ask, here are some questions that may be helpful. Also, be sure to check out our first therapy session FAQ.

Determining logistics

You’ll probably want to know the practical information about your therapist, including their training, schedule, and payment options. Here are a few questions that can help you identify a therapist who meets your practical needs: 

  • What is your specialty or area of expertise?
  • What is your license type?
  • How long have you been practicing?
  • What is your availability?
  • Do you have a cancellation policy?
  • How much do you charge per session? 
  • Do you accept my insurance?
  • If I don’t have insurance, what are other ways I can pay for therapy?

If you are looking for specialty competencies, such as 2STNB, LGBTQ+ or veteran expertise, be sure to ask what experience, training, or certifications they have to ensure you will receive the specialized care you need. 

If your therapist is in the SonderMind network, these questions will be answered before your first appointment. 

Developing a relationship

The therapeutic alliance refers to the quality of the relationship between you and your therapist. A solid therapeutic alliance is critical to achieving the goals you want in therapy. 

Some questions that may help determine if your therapist is the right fit for you include:

  • Have you helped people with the same mental health challenges as me?
  • What is your approach to therapy? 
  • What do you think your strengths are as a therapist, and how would those strengths apply to my mental health condition?
  • Do you give your clients homework? 
  • If so, what type of assignments do you commonly give?
  • How should I communicate with you outside of sessions (phone, email, etc.)?

Setting expectations and tracking progress

Therapy usually doesn’t last forever. In many cases, it might last for a set duration of time or through a specific life event. Being able to set expectations and track your progress is an important part of developing strong mental health. 

Here are a few questions to ask to learn more about how your therapist approaches boundaries and progress:

  • If therapy is not working for me, will you be willing to acknowledge that and suggest alternative solutions?
  • Would you be willing to recommend other local professionals that could help me if that discussion arises?
  • Does everything I say to you stay between you and me? 
  • Are there any exceptions to this rule?
  • How often would you like to meet with me, and for how long?
  • How are you going to assess my progress?
  • How quickly do you think I will start noticing my progress?
  • What type of boundaries would you like to set?

These questions are a general guide, and any other questions that come to your mind before or during your therapy sessions are valid and worth asking. The more questions you ask your therapist, the easier it will be to determine if your therapist is the right fit for you.

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December 15, 2021
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