8 Questions to ask an Adult Therapist in Washington DC

8 Questions to Ask an Adult Therapist in Washington DC

Deciding to start therapy is a big decision and requires a significant amount of time, money, and mental energy. For people who are new to the process of finding a therapist, it can be too overwhelming to find the right person/fit. Knowing what questions you should ask throughout your search can reduce anxiety and help you determine whether your new therapist is the right fit. 8 Questions to ask an adult therapist in Washington DC

Whether you get a recommendation from your primary care doctor, your insurance company, or online, here are 8 questions to ask an adult therapist: 

Are you licensed?

Generally speaking, therapists are required to be licensed by the state they practice in. Or, they need to have a direct supervisor they report to if they’re in the process of licensure. Each state varies regarding what they require for licensure, but generally, it means that the therapist has passed several standards within that state. They usually have a master’s degree, many hours working with clients, and have passed a written exam.

What kind of training do you have?

Depending on who you decide to work with, the education and training of a therapist can vary. They may be a psychologist, counselor, or social worker. All of them provide therapy, but their education differs slightly. It would also be beneficial to ask whether they have specific training in treating your concerns-such as trauma, depression, anxiety, etc.

What’s your treatment orientation?

Orientation refers to the therapist’s approach, in which they utilize specific theories to understand and treat mental health conditions. Similar to education, the orientation of a therapist varies. Get familiar with the number of approaches a therapist can utilize here to get an idea of which one you resonate with, and best fit your needs. 

According to research, you could narrow your options down by understanding that different types of approaches work better in treating particular issues. An example of this would be utilizing CBT-or cognitive behavioral therapy for depression and anxiety. If a therapist uses this approach, they should describe how it could benefit you or recommend a different approach that would better suit you. 

Ideally, you want to make sure you’re both on the same page and view your challenges similarly. 

What’s your expertise or specialty? 

Some therapists are generalists-meaning they treat a variety of disorders from one or more approaches. Others decide to specialize in treating a specific group of mental health conditions. For example, if you’re seeking therapy for PTSD or trauma, you’d want to make sure that the therapist has received specialized training in treating those conditions. 

Will your therapy be short-term or long-term? 

A therapist can’t always predict how long treatment will be required because it depends on various factors. However, they’ll have a general idea of the typical course of treatment. Brief therapy could range anywhere between 6-12 weeks, while others may take a few months. 

Asking them whether your treatment will be continuous or expected to end after a certain point could help you know what to expect in the long term. 

What will therapy sessions be like? 

Certain types of treatment are more structured than others. For example, CBT typically has a plan for each session, and you may have homework. Others may be more flexible or supportive. The initial session, however, shares a few commonalities. You’ll most likely be asked to complete paperwork, verify your insurance, and take care of any other logistics. 

Your therapist will be happy to answer any questions you have before and throughout the process. 

How much does each session cost? 

Therapy can be expensive, so it’s essential to know how much each session will cost from the start. If you’re using insurance, you may want to learn what your co-pay would be. Some therapists offer sliding scale fees for those who choose not to utilize insurance or have trouble affording the cost. A sliding scale is based on your income. It may also be beneficial to take this time to ask how cancellations and missed appointments are handled, as some therapists require a sufficient advance for cancellations or have no-show fees. 

Do you have after-hours availability for crises? 

Depending on your needs, some therapists will make arrangements with you to contact them after hours-or they’ll provide you with alternative resources in case of an emergency.

Finding the right therapist

It’s not always easy to find the right therapist for you; sometimes, it takes time. At Washington Psychological Wellness, we practice an integrative and holistic approach to healing, considering our clients’ mental, physical, and emotional health and interpersonal and spiritual well-being. We believe each individual as unique and therefore cater treatment to the client. Drawing from various modalities and practices, we can match you with a therapist who will understand your specific issues and tailor your therapy plans according to your needs. To learn more, contact us today.

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