8 Questions to Ask a Teen Therapist in Washington DC

Working with a therapist can help support your teen, and help them deal with a variety of issues they may be having. When deciding on what type of therapist would be a good fit for them, it can seem challenging to know where to start. So, what are 8 questions to ask a teen therapist in Washington DC? 

Asking the following questions will present valuable information and give you a better understanding of how the therapist will help your teen facilitate positive changes. 

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.

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.

Other areas of expertise and specialty can include: 

  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors 
  • Eating disorders 
  • Grief and loss 
  • Life transitions 
  • Gender identity issues 
  • Difficulties at school 
  • LGBTQ 
  • Addiction 

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

Each teen’s process and needs will be different, and the amount of time needed in therapy will vary. The length of treatment depends on the presenting issue and the goals of treatment.

Brief treatment might be as short as three to five sessions, while longer-term therapy might last several years.

Your therapist will collaborate with you and your teen to determine the length of clinically appropriate treatment and necessary to meet your teenager’s needs best. 

How can my teen be prepared for therapy? 

If your teen is fearful or resistant to therapy, it can be essential to remember that they may be feeling anxious about starting treatment.

Explore how your teen thinks about therapy, discuss their concerns openly, and offer validation and information.

You might affirm, for example, that therapy doesn’t mean that you are crazy or that something is wrong with you. It is a way of learning new skills to cope, understand yourself and your emotions in a healthy way, and develop ways to handle difficult and challenging situations.

How involved are parents? 

Some therapists offer parenting or family sessions where you can learn the ins and outs of teen development and address any of your concerns.

Often, you’ll be able to meet with the therapist during the first session they have with your teen to understand your perspective on what brought them in. You also have the opportunity to learn new parenting strategies-like setting boundaries or conflict resolution skills.

Because each family is different, your teen’s therapy plan will be based on your family’s unique needs and may or may not involve family or parenting sessions. 

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.

Additionally, you may benefit from taking the time to learn what the standard procedure is for missed or canceled appointments. 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. 

Or, if your family has limited availability and requires a weekend or evening appointment, it’s helpful to ask this question in the conversation’s beginning. It will make the process of getting started more comfortable and reassuring.

Finding the right therapist

Therapy can help teens and adolescents develop a more secure and healthy identity and understanding of themselves, improve communication skills, and resolve conflicts both inside and outside the home. 

Washington Psychological Wellness is proud to provide the open, non-judgmental, and safe space needed for your teen to comfortably work through their difficulties while learning more adaptive and productive means of relating and being.

If you’d like to learn more about teen therapy, contact us today. 

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