What questions should I ask the therapist before therapy begins?
The following are a list of recommended questions, however do also ask your therapist any others that you think of:
- How many sessions will I have?*>
- What type of therapy do you offer?
- How much will it cost?
- What happens if I miss a session?
- What happens if I want to take a holiday, will I still have to pay?
- Will the counselling be confidential?
- Will you make notes during the session, and if so, what happens to these?
- Can I contact my therapist in between sessions?
Key fact sheet 4 provides more suggestions for questions you may find useful to ask your therapist.
What should I look for in a therapist?
Before your therapy begins, you should ask for details on what qualifications the therapist has and whether they are a member of a professional body such as:
- The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
- The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy
- The British Psychoanalytical Council
- The British Psychological Society
It may also be useful to find out whether the therapist has experience and training in working with the particular area of concern that has taken you to therapy.
How do I know which is the right therapist for me?
When you first talk to your chosen therapist, you should feel you can trust them and that you would be comfortable talking with them about very personal thoughts and feelings.
If you don’t feel this is the case, you may want to consider finding someone else who you feel is more suited to you.
Key fact sheet 3 provides further guidance for choosing your therapist.
What if I don’t like my therapist?
If you don’t feel comfortable with your therapist when you first meet then you should contact someone else.
If you have had several sessions, raise your discomfort with your therapist as this may need to be addressed as part of the therapy.
If you continue to feel unhappy with your therapist, you may wish to consider seeking another.
What can I do if it doesn’t work?
If you feel that therapy is not making a difference, discuss this with your therapist to try to find a way forward. If you cannot come to a resolution, you may wish to go to another therapist.
Client information sheet 1 provides useful information to help you deal with this situation in the best way.
How do I know if my therapist is qualified?
BACP recommends a minimum of 400-450 hours college-based therapy training. Ask your therapist for details of their qualifications and to explain what they mean.
If you’re still unsure, contact the therapist’s professional body in order to verify their qualifications.
Does a therapist have to be a member of a professional body?
Currently there is no legal requirement for a therapist to be a member of a professional body. It is recommended that you choose a therapist who is on a register accredited by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care, such as the BACP Register.
How can I end therapy?
You need to discuss this with your therapist in order to bring things to a satisfactory close.
If you feel you cannot do this face to face, you could give notice of wishing to end therapy in writing to your therapist.
Do however bear in mind any agreement you made at the beginning of counselling with regards to ending the process.