Judith Rosen Counselling & Therapy

Individuals - Couples - Adolescents

Choosing A Therapist

Choosing a therapist by using a phone book or from an insurance provider list, can be a daunting task. Here are a few points to remember:

  • Ask about licenses or membership in professional organizations. Most therapists are accredited members of national and international organizations who have granted membership based on strong criteria of training and education. While these are no guarantee of quality, it is useful for you to know that a person receiving a license or membership in a professional organization has met the requirements for education and training mandated by your province. Should there be a complaint against the therapist, it would be taken to the licensing organization or the professional board and should be on record there.  
  • Feel free to interview a prospective therapist. Ask questions about their style of therapy and training, fee structure, cancellation policy, insurance reimbursement, how long they have been in practice, and if they are familiar working with the kinds of issues you wish to present in therapy.  
  • Give some thought to whether you should see a man or a woman therapist.  
  • Remember that different people work together in different ways. You should feel comfortable with the style of your therapist.  Sometimes it takes a few "tries" to find a good match.  It is OK to shop around until you find the right therapist for you.  
  • Expect and demand ethical practices, especially and including issues of confidentiality and any form of physical contact.  

Remember that therapy, in the hands of a skilled therapist, is a powerful and life-changing experience. It has been shown to be effective for a variety of illnesses and problems. If you need therapy and work as an active participant in your own treatment, you can expect it will be well worth the time and money you invest.

What Type Of Therapist Do You Need?

There are many types of licensed mental health professionals, differing in educational backgrounds, training, licensure, philosophy, and technique.

What Theoretical Orientation Do You Want Your Therapist To Have?

Many differences between therapists show up in the area of theoretical orientation, which describes their basic philosophy and beliefs about what causes mental health distress and how they work with clients. See below for definitions of theories and techniques used in therapy. Many therapists work with clients in a variety of ways and ascribe to more than one theoretical perspective.

What Are Some Questions You May Want To Ask?

It is important to get as much information about a therapist as possible before entering into a therapeutic relationship with him or her. Remember, you will be sharing very personal information with your therapist so it will need to be an individual you have confidence in and can connect with. It's OK to interview a therapist, either in a phone conversation or in a first session, so that you can obtain the necessary information to make a well-informed decision. Here are examples of some of the types of questions you may want to ask:

  • What are your credentials and training?
  • What are your areas of expertise and specialization?
  • What specific training do you have in your areas of specialization?
  • Are you on the provider list for my insurance plan?
  • What is your standard fee? How long are sessions? Do you have a sliding fee scale? Are fees different for individual, couples, or group therapy?
  • How many clients have you worked with that have had similar issues to mine? How did you work with them and how did it help?
  • Are you in good standing with your licensing board? Has anyone ever made a complaint against you? If so, how was it resolved?
  • Do you receive your own supervision, consultation, or therapy from a professional?
  • Where did you go to graduate school and where did you do your internship?
  • How long have you been in private practice?
  • What are your beliefs about how therapy should work? What do you do during sessions and what do you expect from a client during and between sessions?
  • How can I contact you in an emergency?

How Will I Know If This Person Is The Right Therapist For Me?

After getting all the information and talking with several professionals, you will need to make a decision. At this point the best advice is to trust your gut feelings. It is important that you work with a therapist who is qualified to help you in your particular area of need and that it is an individual with whom you feel safe, can talk easily with, and a person you feel you can learn to trust.