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What questions should I ask a therapist in a consultation?

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

First Step Men's Therapy helps men across Ontario, Canada develop healthier relationships with themselves and others. We offer individual, couples, and group counselling to men and their families online using our secure telehealth platform.

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So you have just booked a first consultation with a therapist - now what!?

Scheduling that consultation may provide some instant relief that action is finally being taken, or it may conjure or stoke fear, anxiety, and uncertainty on what the next step might look like. It is common for one to feel a wide range of emotions when first meeting with therapists to determine who to work with. It may be your first ever time reaching out to a therapist, or perhaps you have worked with other mental health professionals in the past.

What are some questions I might ask a therapist in a consult?

Take the opportunity to ask any important or relevant questions that you feel would be helpful when seeking therapy. Do you have any dealbreakers or preferences?

Some common questions might include:

  1. What is your experience with treating conditions similar to mine?

  2. How do you typically approach treatment for this condition?

  3. How frequently will we meet and for how long?

  4. What is your policy on communication outside of sessions? (email/phone)

  5. How do you measure progress and determine when therapy should end?

  6. How much do you charge, how do I pay, and do you accept insurance?

  7. What happens if I miss a session?

  8. Are you licensed and do you have any certifications or specialties?

  9. What is your availability and how do I schedule appointments?

  10. How do you maintain confidentiality and ensure privacy? Is everything I share confidential?

  11. Will you make notes during our sessions?

  12. Are you comfortable and trained to work with any specific populations?

  13. What do the first few sessions look like if I were to work with you?

  14. Do you offer in-person, virtual, or hybrid sessions?

  15. What are some of the benefits and challenges of virtual or in-person therapy?

What and how much should I share about myself in a therapy consultation?

Keep in mind that for most complimentary consultations, therapists typically offer 15-20 minutes. We recommend sharing 2-4 sentences on yourself to allow for more time to ask questions that may be helpful. Sometimes, individuals feel relieved that they are speaking about their difficulties and may have a tendency to overshare during a consultation. It is important to remember that first (and even future sessions) are typically centered on information gathering. During a therapy consultation, it is important to be honest and open with your therapist.

Some important pieces to share might include:

  1. Information about your current symptoms

  2. Any past mental health treatment, and any relevant medical or personal history.

  3. Specific goals you hope to achieve in therapy, as well as any concerns or reservations you may have.

  4. If you are seeing other health care providers (mental health professionals) concurrently

  5. Any cultural, language or other specific needs you may have that might help a therapist assess for a good fit

How will I know if it is a good fit?

Knowing if it is a good fit in a consultation might be difficult. However, one thing to consider might include: can I feel comfortable sharing my story with this person and do they have a background that can support me. Do they answer my questions appropriately and seem to care about my concerns?

A good fit between a therapist and client is characterized by a sense of trust, comfort, and rapport. The client should feel comfortable sharing personal information and discussing sensitive topics with their therapist. The therapist should be able to understand and validate the client's perspective and experiences, while also providing constructive feedback and guidance. A good fit can also be characterized by the therapist's approach and expertise aligning with the client's needs and goals.

For example, if a client is seeking therapy for a specific issue, such as PTSD, it is important that the therapist has experience and training in treating that issue. In addition, the client should have the feeling that the therapist is respectful, non-judgmental, and approachable. It's important to remember that finding the right fit may take some time and it's okay to interview a few therapists before you find the one that is right for you.

Check out our blog post on how to make the most out of virtual therapy: Click here

Check out our blog post on working with a male therapist: Click here

First Step Men's Therapy offers free 20-minute consultations with our therapists to determine whether it may be a good fit and answer any questions you may have about ourselves, the clinic, and what therapy with a particular therapist might look like. We offer individual, couples, and group counselling across Ontario, including Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Kingston, Ottawa, Barrie, Windsor, London, Chatham, Thunder Bay, North Bay, Sudbury, Belleville, Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville - and everywhere in between using our secure telehealth platform.

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