Even though awareness about the importance of mental health and counseling have increased significantly in Lancaster, PA, finding the right therapist can still be daunting. One of the challenges some clients talk about is the fear of the first phone call. It takes great courage to pick up the phone and dial a counselor and ask for help. But once you dial those seven digits, what do you talk about during the phone consultation? It can be so easy for your mind to go blank. If you worry that this might happen to you, here are a few questions to help you remember that your wise self knows whom will be a good fit for you and also that you are interviewing your potential therapist just as much as they are interviewing you.
Here are a few questions to ask your potential mental health counselor.
If I’m going to be your client, what will our sessions be like? How do you work with clients?
Besides putting your mind at ease by having a sense of what a session would be like, you can get a feel for the therapist by how they describe a session with a client. Some therapists are directive and outline specific steps or strategies that that they utilize with clients. Some therapists are more collaborative and co-create their work with clients. And some therapists are a little bit of both. When you hear the therapist describe how they work, notice your body response. Does the still small voice in you say yes or do you find yourself closing down?
What is your background, and how will that help you to help me?
Sure, you can read the list of trainings and see the number of years a therapist has practiced, but seeking the specific ways that a therapist’s background can meet your problem is important for you and the help you seek. Again, simply listening to and for your own response to the therapist’s answer will give you a lot of information about a right fit.
Have you ever been in therapy yourself?
I believe that one of the most vital ingredients to being a therapist is having been on the other side of the couch. When you learn that a therapist has been in therapy you learn several important details like the therapist will know what it’s like to be a client and that the therapist has committed to their own journey of growth and healing. How does the therapist respond to this question? Again, taking a few moments to notice the reply and your own reaction will give you a lot information.
How do you define therapy?
Believe it or not,. therapy can be defined differently by different counselors. For some, therapy is about the relationship between therapist and client or client and client. Although psychoeducation and techniques are taught and utilized, the therapy room becomes a place to experience the changes. The relationship in the room becomes a place to experiment, explore, and grow. In other instances, therapy becomes like a classroom where you learn different strategies, take them out into the world, and come back to process how “life out there” went. Knowing yourself, which approach resonates most with you?
What are your strengths as a therapist?
Just as the therapist will want to learn about your resources and strengths, it is helpful for you to know what your therapist sees as their unique gifts. Having an idea of the qualities that your therapist brings into the therapy room can help you understand if this person will be a good fit for working with you for the specific challenges you want to examine and resolve.
Here are a few questions to ask your prospective therapist. If you are still feeling confused, overwhelmed, or burdened, please feel free to call be at 717-966-1210 for a free 15 minute phone consultation. I’d be happy to hear what you’re struggling with or against and help direct you to the right person.