When you start therapy, it is important to make sure that you are happy and comfortable with your therapist. Therefore, it is important to ask some questions to ensure that they are right for you.
Each therapist is different, which has the benefit of you having a lot of choice, but also means that you might be 'shopping around' before you find the right person for you.
Here are some good questions to ask when you meet a new therapist;
1. Are you registered or accredited with any governing body?
In the UK, there are a couple of governing bodies, with the two biggest being the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). Being registered with a governing body means that the counsellor has completed a credible training course, continues to do a certain amount of training each year, and follows a code of ethics. It also means that there is a formal complaints method should that be necessary.
Being accredited by a governing body is one step up from being registered. It means that the therapist has been in practice for a certain amount of years post-qualifying, has completed a certain number of sessions, and has done a significant amount of theoretical work post-qualifying. Not all therapists chose to go through this accreditation process, so having a therapist be accredited shouldn't necessarily be a requirement, but it can be helpful to know.
2. Have you had therapy yourself?
In the UK, any good training course would require that counsellors also go to counselling. Different courses have different requirements, and some counsellors chose to continue going to counselling after their course has ended.
3. What kind of therapy do you offer?
There are lots of different therapeutic modalities, and different modalities work better or worse for different people. For example, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is great for working with phobias, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts, whereas a Psychodynamic therapist would spend more time looking into your childhood and how this influences your life today.
However, as therapists continue learning and training after qualifying, there are as many different styles of therapy as there are therapists, and therefore it is worth asking each potential counsellor how they work with their clients.
4. What's your cancellation policy?
Most counsellors will have a cancellation policy that they explain in the first session. It is important that you know whether you will be charged for missed sessions, how much notice you need to give, and how you should contact them if you need to cancel.
5. Do you do regular reviews?
It is often helpful to have regular reviews within the counselling process. It is helpful to have a review at about session 6 and then to have semi-regular reviews throughout the sessions. A review is a chance for you and your counsellor to go over what you have already covered, to make sure you are both o the same page, happy with where the work is going, and happy to continue with the same counsellor.
As always, if you would like to book an initial counselling session with me, please email me at email@example.com or use the Appointments tab in the menu.