What Questions Should I Ask a New Therapist?

3 minutes Written by Mental Health Match & Reviewed by Ann Dypiangco, LCSW

There is no one right way to start therapy, and you can ask your therapist as few or as many questions as you’d like.

Asking questions about your therapist’s approach and style can help people feel more secure and empowered as you choose a therapist. A therapist should be able to answer and respond to any of the following questions non-judgmentally.

1. How long have you been practicing?

It’s useful to get a sense of how long someone has been in practice. A greater length of their career may demonstrate ore experience. However, someone earlier in their career may have received the most up to date training.

2. Can you tell me about your experience working with clients like me?

A therapist should be able to answer this question in a way that makes you feel understood and cites general examples or trainings that are relevant to your life, difficulties or experiences in the world.

3. How do you stay current on your practice or receive guidance from other professionals?

A good therapist is committed to continuous improvement and ensuring that their practice is effective. This means regular continuing education, and could mean things like receiving consultation from other trusted professionals or attending advanced trainings.

4. What type of therapy do you practice? (Learn more about the types of therapy here.)

Knowing more about a therapist’s modality might give you a sense of what to expect and can help you research more.

5. How will I know therapy is working?

Your therapist should be able to describe to you how you’ll measure progress or how they typically understand that their clients are benefiting from their work.

6. Can you explain confidentiality to me? How do I know what I tell you is private?

Your therapist should be able to detail the steps they take to maintain your confidentiality.

7. How long and how often do you think I need to be in therapy?

Your therapist should be able to make some estimation but know that these estimations can vary once you begin therapy and build a deeper relationship with your therapist.

8. How will we define my goals for therapy?

You should feel like you have a clear vision of what you’re working towards and that your therapist does too. They should be able to outline the process of how they develop therapeutic goals in collaboration with their clients.

9. What specific treatments would you recommend for me?

Your therapist should be able to explain what type of treatment they recommend in a way that you understand, as well as provide a strong rationale for why they are making those recommendations.

Know that many therapists keep some, if not most, keep details of their personal life private. This choice protects the relationship you have with your therapist, and keeps the process focused on you and your needs.

It’s reasonable to want to know some personal information about a therapist if it makes you more confident that they’ll understand you however. For example, if you are seeking support around parenting a therapist who is a parent, or who has deep experience with parenting might make you feel as though you are more likely to be understood.

In the end, feel free to ask any of the questions above, or simply use them as a starting point to make your own list. Therapy is your time, and it’s important that you understand what you’ll do there and how it will be meaningful to you.

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Ann Dypiangco, LCSW

Written by Mental Health Match & Reviewed by Ann Dypiangco, LCSW

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