Therapy is a place of discover and healing. Most the time people don’t think of asking therapist questions, but you should. You’re interviewing them like you would a nanny, babysitter, or employee! The reasons could be feeling anxious, feeling uncomfortable, out of control, and being in an unknown environment is never freeing. Not all therapists are the same. For example:
Some will work on childhood issues that could be the root of the issue.
Some will look at the present problems and work backwards. Psychology Today reported that “some are directive and require homework; others see themselves as guides helping you navigate the winding roads of your psyche. Finding a fit with your style and personality is important.” You need to work together.
Ask what their success rate is and how they helped others, with examples. The Anxiety and Depression Association suggested that you should ask if the provider has worked with someone like you, the success rate, and the process. Everyone’s treatment plan is different. Think of the first appointment as an assessment, the ADAA suggested.
“Think of your first few sessions with a new therapist as a mutual assessment. Do you and the therapist agree that he or she will provide the help you’re looking for? Finally, be wary of promises of quick cures, requirements of large commitments of resources up front, and of one-size-fits-all methods.” Ask them what their biggest successes in therapy, and strengths. Ask yourself if you are making strides, and be honest. You can’t expect healing overnight. If you do sense hope, that is a great sign.
The American Psychological Association (http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/choose-therapist.aspx) explained:
“People often feel a wide variety of emotions during therapy. Some qualms about therapy that people may have result from their having difficulty discussing painful and troubling experiences. When you begin to feel relief or hope, it can be a positive sign indicating that you are starting to explore your thoughts and behavior.”
There are practical things you can ask like canceling fees/policies, cost per session, or if rates tend to go up. Additionally, if you feel that after a few sessions they are not the correct fit then talk to them to correct it, or start research to find another person. Remember you need to be comfortable. Ask them if they prescribe medication and what training do they have, credentials, and what disorders do they specialize in? The more information the better as you need to be involved in all aspects of your care.
Take all the information you need before going into a commitment. There could be a better option for you. Ask what are some of the things you can tackle between sessions? This can be doing homework, or setting goals. Look for tools you can use when emotional challenges and other problems trigger depression. Forbes.com did a story on talk therapy. Going to therapy can help you deal with problems and resolve them. This can help you grow, work to resolve problems better, and is better for your health!
“Psychological trauma, or even general ennui, can trigger physical symptoms – and depression and anxiety are well known to have significant, and sometimes debilitating, physical effects. Going to therapy, assuming it’s successful, can help these issues fade away.”
As always do your own research, and do what is right for you. There is no need to rush when looking for a therapist. Take time and vet them, even if you feel you can’t find the right one right away. Ask for referrals from health practitioners to help guide you in the process. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Once you do it, and find the path, you will be able to start recovery.