Chosing a Therapist
Helping You Move Forward
Choosing a psychologist or therapist can be confusing but need not be intimidating! Once a psychologist's credentials & competence in helping with your type of problem are established, it largely comes down to the level of personal comfort with that person. Choose a psychologist with whom you feel comfortable and at ease. Here are some questions to help find the right one.
Ten Good Questions to Ask -
That Any Good Psychologist or Therapist will be Happy to Answer!
Questions about qualifications
What qualifications do you have?
What professional bodies are you registered and accredited with? (HCPC, BPS)
What specific training do you have in CBT & how long was that part
If a therapist claims to 'integrate' CBT with other types of therapy 'as needed' ask whether they have the level of expertise for your specific problem. Unfortunately, some therapists ‘badge’ generic or integrative therapy as ‘CBT’ after minimal training. They may have several years experience with another approach, but the CBT part may not be the level of expertise that you need.
Ask what supervision they receive? Note - ALL proper therapists & psychologists have regular supervision regardless of how senior or qualified they are. Steer well clear of anyone who does not have this!
Questions about the therapy
Is it mainly talk therapy or do you set tasks for you to practice in between sessions (so that you can make the best use of your therapy)
Can I record sessions on my phone if I want to (this may make therapy more effective as you can review the session later at your own pace and make the most of it).
Ask what ideas they have about how my problem can be treated? What are reasonable goals for treatment?
Ask about their current caseload. Are they helping people with similar problems?
What ideas do they have about how your problem can be treated and what might be the approximate length of therapy.
Things that would concern me
Therapists who are avoidant when asked questions
Therapists who claim to be 'Expert in everything'
Cold or Pessimistic therapists
Therapists who make you feel not good enough or small
Therapists who just talk and don't focus on active changes
A therapist who I felt comfortable with.
A therapist who was able to respectfully challenge me.
A therapist who answers my questions clearly
A therapist who focuses on doing things- not just talking.
A therapist with positive aims and objectives decided with me.
How to Get the Best Out of Your Therapy
If you already have a therapist - are they helping you move forward with goals & strategies -not just letting you talk?
Are they are offering the most research evidenced and up-to-date therapy for your specific problem.
Make plenty of notes during the sessions of important points.
Ask lots of questions.
Are they offering you potential strategies to overcome the issues that you want help with?
Are they setting you useful things to try out between sessions - so that you can gradually develop new ways of dealing with problems?
Sometimes you might want to bring a partner or family member (for example, if your problem involves other people). Are they OK with this?
Ask if the sessions can be recorded e.g. on your phone.
Be as curious and positive as you can about trying new ways of doing things; nothing ventured - nothing gained!