So, you have a list of counselors to call or maybe you even called them and one or two seem nice enough (and they actually returned your call!) Now what? Many of them will talk about doing a consultation. But, what do you ask a counselor in order to make sure they are the right fit for you and your needs? What should you say? What is appropriate?
I’m here to help you with fill in the blanks. Here are the questions I’d ask a therapist, counselor or psychologist in Cleveland:
Do they have any specialty? Do they specialize in the area you are needing help? Although some therapist will be generalists, some will also have a specialty. Now it doesn’t mean if they don’t have a specialty, they aren’t a good therapist but if they do, they might be that much more effective and knowledgeable. It may be that if they don’t specialize in what you need help with, they will still be able to see you but they also might provide you with excellent referrals.
How do they approach treatment for the particular issue you are dealing with? Asking the potential therapist how they might approach treatment for your particular issue might allow you to see an overall picture of how your time with therapist might look. Do they lean on skills providing worksheets and coping exercises? Do they do family of origin and systemic work looking for the environmental and historical aspects of your life and its contribution to who you are today? It’s important to have them paint a picture of what it may look like in session to see if you think it would be a good fit for you.
How long have they been in practice? This is a tricky one. One would imagine that they more years, the better the therapist and in most cases it’s true but not in all cases. If it’s important to you that they’ve been practicing awhile, then this is a great question to ask.
Ask them to describe their style of therapy. Some therapists have a more directive approach and some people like that their counselor will get in there and challenge from the beginning. Others will want a safe space to talk, be validated and be lead on a journey of discovery. What do you prefer? Are you looking for a trail guide or a captain?
Are they available to see you weekly or how frequently will they see you? Making sure your counselor has room for your follow-up appointments is important. There is nothing like unloading your life story in the first session and then realizing you can’t see them for another two to three weeks. The more consistent your appointments are, the more you’ll get out of therapy. And the more you get out of therapy, the better you feel.
Money, money, money. What is their fee per session? Do they take your insurance? Do they offer a sliding scale? Do they offer super bills if they are out of network? This is a big one. But then again, this is your life and your emotional world and you are worth the investment. So, be realistic and be honest. If the fee is not within your budget, the counselor might be able to refer you to some lower cost options.
I hope this has been beneficial to you in finding the right counselor in Cleveland. If you are still feeling perplexed, feel free to call me at (440) 836-3186 for a free 15-minute consultation. I’d be happy to hear about what is going on and connect you to the right person. If you are looking for help with couples counseling, marriage counseling or relationship issues, you can read more about how I can help here.