12 Questions to ask a prospective therapist in Orange County, CA
Oh, Orange County! Such a huge area, so many people, so many cars, so much traffic. So many therapists! It can be a struggle to try to find a therapist in OC because there so many! It can easily get overwhelming. Even when you find a few that seem good, you may still have no idea where to go from there. As a therapist myself who has had to find a therapist in Orange County, I get it and I’m here to help!
Need help finding a therapist? Check out my blog on finding a therapist here.
Let’s fast forward a bit. Hurray! You found a few therapists in OC that seem work be a good fit. Boo! They all mention scheduling a free consultation. What the heck is that? Why do they all want you to have a consultation before setting up a session? What are you supposed to ask them? Is it going to be terribly awkward and uncomfortable?
Finding a few therapists was hard enough. Navigating consultations seem like a lot of work. Don’t worry. I’m here to help you figure out what questions to ask a therapist.
12 Questions to Ask a Therapist Before You Schedule Your First Session
1. Are you licensed? What are your credentials? What is your experience?
There are many different types of therapists (marriage and family therapists, social workers, psychologists, clinical counselors, etc). There are Interns/Associates that work under the supervision of a licensed therapist. They all have a different focus and specialty.
2. Do you take insurance?
Some therapists take insurance, others do not. With that in mind, only some may be in-network on your plan. Ask! Make sure you contact your insurance to know your in-network behavioral health benefits.
3. What is your fee?
If you cannot afford their fee, ask if they have a sliding scale or if they have any referrals for a therapist who can slide to meet your financial needs.
4. How often will we meet and for how long?
Most therapists like to meet once a week for about 50 minutes.
5. Do you provide only in-person therapy or is there an option for online therapy?
Some therapists are moving towards online therapy because it is more convenient for clients. If you travel a lot, work a lot, have a chronic illness, chronic pain, are a new mom, etc. it may be easier for you to have access to online/virtual therapy sessions.
6. What happens if I miss an appointment or am late?
Therapists have different cancellation policies so make sure you are clear what they are.
7. What is your theoretical orientation? How does therapy with you work?
There are many different theoretical orientations that therapists can be trained in. For example, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Psychodynamic, Psychoanalytic, Gestalt, Depth Psychology, etc.
8. How do you set up therapy goals? How do you know they have been reached?
This helps you understand more of the therapist style, how they will work with you, and most importantly, how you will know you have reached your goals and are ready to be done with therapy.
9. How long does therapy last?
Therapy does not typically have a set number of sessions. It all depends on the person and their needs and goals.
10. Do you give homework/reading?
This helps you know a little more about how the therapist works.
11. What is your therapy style?
Is the therapist more of a listener, leader, supporter, etc?
12. How do I prepare for my first therapy session with you?
I hope this guide helps you find the right therapist in the big city of Los Angeles. If you are still feeling like there are no therapists out there for you, feel free to call me at 747-200-5821 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. I’m more than happy to help. I am also happy to steer you towards finding the right therapist. If you are looking for help with anxiety, perfectionism, fear, self-doubt, or depression, you can read more about how I can help here.
Arati Patel, LMFT
Hi, I’m Arati Patel, a licensed marriage and family therapist with a passion for healing and helping individuals so they can achieve their goals, hopes, and dreams. I have specialized interests in working with anxiety, self-doubt, grief, first generation individuals, and identity issues. I currently work through my private practice in Laguna Hills, CA and provide online counseling services.