Your First Visit
So, you have made an appointment with a therapist. If you’re like most people, you are a little nervous anticipating what to expect on the first visit. Relax. Remember that you are purchasing a service and you have the right and the responsibility to interview a prospective therapist. It is customary for clients to spend the first part of their first session asking questions of the therapist. A reputable therapist should be willing to answer any professional question the new client needs answered. The only inappropriate questions are those that are of a personal nature, i.e. the age of the therapist, her/his family situation, home telephone number and address, etc.
The research done on therapy outcomes suggests that although theoretical perspective, gender and age of the therapist do contribute to client satisfaction and progress; the single largest contributor to a good outcome in therapy is the personal fit between the counsellor and the client. The way you feel in the therapist’s presence, whether he/she demonstrates caring and an ability to actively listen and understand your situation will likely determine whether you will feel comfortable. The questions below are meant to be a general guide for an individual meeting their therapist for the first time.
- What is your academic and training been to prepare you to practice as a therapist?
- What specialized training and/or experience have you had in working with the issue I am dealing with?
- What professional associations do you belong to?
- What are your fees? How will my insurance claim be handled? (preferably fees and potential insurance coverage should be discussed on the phone prior to making the first appointment)
- What type of therapy do you do? (mostly talking, role-playing, visualizing, hypnosis, artwork, “body-work”)
- What are your office protocols? (booking appointments, payment for missed appointments, emergencies, building access after-hours, etc.)
- I would like a brief explanation as to what I can expect to happen in my sessions.
- How long will each session last?
- How many sessions will it take to resolve my issue?
- How will my confidentiality be assured?