How to Find A Therapist & What Questions To Ask
At GroundWork Counseling in Orlando, we understand that one of the first steps you can take when seeking therapy is to reach out to providers via phone; we encourage you to take time to ask specific questions. At GroundWork you will always schedule your initial appointment with a therapist, not a receptionist, this is so an educated member of our team can provide you with specific information regarding your therapy.
Below are some questions to help get you started. Whether seeking therapy for anxiety, depression, or due to life transitions, consider asking the following questions to any treatment provider you are considering:
“What are your areas of expertise?”
Assess how you feel talking with the person on the other end of the phone, are they thoroughly answering your questions or being elusive? Think of this interaction as you would a first date or job interview, is the individual on the phone not only pleasant, but are they also knowledgeable? Are they also asking you questions to determine if its a good fit?
The first thing to determine is can the provider meet your needs. Do they work with clients who present similar issues as you? Where did they receive training in this area of expertise? It is esential to work with a professional who specializes and has a history of working with clients that have a similar diagnosis or issue as you. Don’t invest your time and money collaborating with a therapist who isn’t capable of helping you get to your desired end goal.
Be aware of therapists who claim to specialize and work with “everything.” Red flags should go up when you hear that a therapist is a generalist, as one person can simply not be an expert in all things. Rather than seek out a professional of versatility, look for professionals of specificity. It is better to work with a therapist who is proficient and has a specialization.
Another thing you’ll want to pay special attention to is the way that a therapist presents themselves. Are they trying to “sell” you on themselves? Find a professional who is passionate about their work and their clients. A good therapist won’t try to sell themselves. Instead, they will try to inform and educate you about the work that they do and the treatment options they could provide for you.
“Do you provide talk therapy or evidence-based therapy?”
What you’re looking for will determine how you’ll be assessing a professional’s response to this question. First, know what the difference is between talk therapy or evidence-based therapies and ask the professional you’re consulting with how their treatment methods have been proven effective for the challenges you’re dealing with.
Talk therapy is focused on clients talking as the means of resolving and expressing issues. This therapeutic approach often encourages clients to engage in many years of counseling. Evidence-based therapies are shorter term and goal dir, which aim to eventually equip the patient with a skill set to tackle issues on their own. Evidence-based practices, incorporate a patient’s values, a clinician’s expertise and evidence-based research to diagnose and treat a current issue.
“Where did you receive your training?”
A common misconception among many individuals seeking evidence-based therapy is that simply because a therapist has a license and has a graduate degree that they are equipped to deal with all disorders – this is not the case. It is important to ask your perspective therapist where they received their post-degree training and what types of trainings they received, also consider if these methods of treatment have been proven helpful for the challenges you are experiencing. Their answers will provide you with relevant information regarding their areas of specialization, as well as their therapeutic approaches.
Because Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been found extremely effective in research it has unfortunatly become a buzzword – many untrained clinicians often state they use CBT, however, without proper training, this is highly unlikely. Be sure to ask if your prospective therapist if they are trained in CBT, where they received their training, and which professional conferences they attend. Also, ask which CBT specific organizations they are are affiliated with. These questions will help determine if you will actually be receiving CBT.
“How will we know if therapy is working?”
Once you find a therapist or counselor who specializes in the issues that you’re dealing with, and uses a treatment approach that aligns with your goals, they next step is to determine how you know therapy is working and when you’ll be finished with regular appointments. It’s important to know that evidence-based therapy is not attended indefinitely.
Therapists utilizing evidence-based approaches will be able to give an estimate of treatment length, although it can vary. Your therapist will also be able to inquire as to what point they feel like you can expect to start noticing progress; therapists will also have a plan and goal in mind, rather than simply discussing the events of the previous week. An effective therapist will also extend “homework” assignments for you to do outside of your regular sessions to accelerate progress, and transition tools from in sessions, to your everyday life.
At GroundWork Counseling in Orlando our therapists specialize in using evidence-based CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) and ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention). We’d be happy to answer your questions!
Speak With An Orlando CBT Therapist