Lots of different questions can come into play when choosing a therapist. What type of approach should I choose? Should I go for short-term therapy or something longer-term? What’s the difference between CBT and psychoanalysis? We’ve developed our questionnaire to remove some of this confusion, and make connecting with suitable therapists simple, without the need to get lost in researching all the fine details of different approaches and training.
But when you make it to your therapist’s couch, what next?
Before arriving to your first session, it’s a good idea to come equipped with a few questions. The first session is an opportunity to learn a bit more about how your therapist works, their approach, and whether they feel like a good fit.
Below are some questions to take along to your first appointment that can pave the way for finding out more about how your therapist works and whether you think they can help:
Don’t worry too much about the specific answer to this — although obviously you need to feel comfortable with the kinds of techniques they’ll be working with. What’s really important is that your therapist communicates with you clearly in a way that you understand. If you feel like they’re talking to you in complex clinical terms or going off on a confusing tangent, you should consider turning your search elsewhere. Therapy should leave you feeling clearer rather than add to any confusion. The right therapist will be someone who’s able to cut the jargon, and explain things in a way that makes sense to you.
Depending on what style of therapy you choose, the answer to this isn’t always going to be definitive. However, your therapist should be able to provide at least a bit of steer as to how many sessions will make a good starting point for you. Even if it’s just, “We’d be looking to start at 12 sessions initially, and then check-in and see how you’re feeling”. Be wary of anyone who’s hesitant about giving you even a rough idea of what kind of time and financial commitment you’ll be looking to make.
You’re looking for a therapist that’s just as set on finding markers for your progress as you are. Despite best intentions, not every therapist or therapy approach will be right for you. Your therapist should demonstrate that they’d be willing to speak up if they think you’ve got to a place where you’re no longer making progress, or if they think you could be making better strides elsewhere.
It can be comforting to remember that most therapists have also been on the receiving end of therapy. In fact, many are required to go through therapy as part of their training. It’s a healthy quality to be able to admit that we need a helping hand from time to time — and the same applies to health professionals. Knowing that your therapist “has been there too” can help soften the dynamic between the two of you and create a feeling of common ground.
Arriving prepared with a few questions allows you to turn the tables and learn more about your therapist and what they can offer you throughout the course of your treatment. If you want to learn more about how to prepare for your first therapy session, you can read our tips here.
But instead of getting lost in the intricacies of their training and expertise, try pulling your focus to how they make you feel. Does what they’re saying make sense to you? Do you feel understood? Do you feel comfortable talking to them? Do they seem like a genuine person with your best interests at heart? Good therapy’s a partnership — and you’re looking for someone you feel that with.
Are you interested in trying therapy but not sure where to start? Speak to one of our team to get help to find a therapist today.