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Information about the author of this post.
cabo233's picture Cindy Bowling, LCSW
Work+Life Connections Therapist
College or Department
Work-Life
Address
Breckinridge Hall, rooms 203 and 204
Phone Number
(859) 562-2680
Email Address
cindy.bowling@uky.edu

3 questions to ask before you start working with a therapist

Research shows that one of the most important factors in positive therapy outcomes is the relationship between the therapist and the client.

It’s important you feel comfortable and you can be honest and open about what’s going on in your life while feeling confident your therapist understands those problems and can help you. This therapeutic relationship can help you establish goals for therapy and facilitate changes that will best help you attain those goals.

In addition to the questions you already have for a prospective therapist, consider asking these for more insight into the right fit.

1. Can you tell me about your style as a therapist?

Every therapist operates with a style that informs their way of understanding, connecting with and treating their clients. This is often called a theoretical perspective or framework. This is a set of beliefs or skills that a therapist will use to direct their work with a client and help that client reach their goals.

Some therapists are more directive, while others will let the client take the lead in session and create a more conversational tone. Asking a therapist about their style can help you know what to expect in therapy and get a sense if the therapist will be a good fit for your personality and what you want to achieve in therapy.

2. What are your experiences in working with __________?

Asking a potential therapist about their work with clients with similar problems can give you important information, allow you to hear your therapist think out loud and help you decide if this person can help you achieve your goals. This is an opportunity to hear how the therapist has addressed similar issues and situations with clients who have come to them previously.

It is important to trust yourself with this question and pay attention to your reaction to the therapist. Do you connect? Often, someone with potentially less experience treating a specific issue may listen or connect to you in a way that’s important and meaningful to you — creating a good working relationship. This strong connection may be a better fit than someone with more knowledge, training and experience.

3. What are your strengths, or areas of focus, as a therapist?

Follow-up questions: What kind of clients do you enjoy working with? What sort of specialties or continuing education do you gravitate toward? What areas of therapy interest you the most?

Any or all of these questions can help you decide if a certain therapist is right for you. You’ll learn what this therapist feels confident in, passionate about and how they may be able to relate to your own problems and focus on your goals. Please ask about any details that are especially important to you, such as their experiences in working with specific populations, cultures and/or with addressing the problems and concerns that come up in your daily life.

Once you select a therapist, give this relationship some time to develop. If you do not feel this person is the best fit for you after a few sessions, know they understand the importance of this connection. They may even be able to help you find another therapist to continue your work.

Find a therapist

University of Kentucky Department of Psychiatry
Services include testing, psychiatry and outpatient therapy for UK-HMO and PPO insurance members.

LiveHealth
Option to see a mental health professional online to address ongoing concerns.

Anthem
Listing of in-network providers specializing in treating your areas of concern.

Psychology Today
Listing of therapists near you accepting different payment types.