Yvette E. McDonald, LCSW-QS
Questions To Ask A Potential Counselor
6 Questions to inquire of a potential counselor.
What should I look for in a counselor?
“FIT” is one of the biggest factors in whether counseling will be effective. Finding a great counselor can often be a monumental task and for good reason, as you are taking brave steps forward in your life to improve yourself, family or kids and inviting a perfect stranger to do that with. You should always talk with the counselor before you decide on who you, your family or your child/teen will work with. That is why I offer complimentary phone consultations. During that time, I will help you clarify your goals for yourself, family or kids and assess if you will be a good fit for my expertise.
The most important thing is that you are Comfortable with your counselor.
Here are a handful of questions that every counselor or therapist should be able to answer. I want you to feel comfortable, ask me as many questions as you would like:
What type of license do you have? Not every counselor is trained the same and it's important to clarify in the beginning what you are looking for. Are you looking for talk therapy, testing or medication? Here are some common definitions that you will hear. Licensed Psychologist (PhD, PsyD) has training in psychology. They often provide testing. Psychiatrists are trained in the medical, psychological, and social components of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders and utilize a broad range of treatment modalities, including diagnostic tests, prescribing medications, psychotherapy, and helping patients and their families cope with stress and crises. They often provide medication. Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) A psychotherapist (therapist, for short) is a person who has been professionally trained to help people deal with stress or other problems through the means of talk therapy, psychotherapy. Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and school psychologists are the titles of some of the licensed professionals who work as therapists.
What type of training and expertise do you have? Depending on the counselor their focus in therapy can be very different. You want to make sure that they have experience and at times especially with couples have specialized training working with your presenting concerns.
What can I expect with coming to see you? This will give you an idea of what to expect. Some counselors have a clear plan, some make treatment plans to help measure goals, while others don’t. Their approach should be similar to what you are looking for and what works best for your growth goals and style of growth.
What theoretical approach do you take? When you ask this question part of it is the actual theoretical approach. But the biggest part is can they brake down to you what they do in every day language. Let's say they say they do cognitive-behavioral therapy, that probably doesn’t mean much to you, so hopefully a counselor will explain that in everyday language and how it would play out in your particular situation.
How many sessions do most clients attend? Counselors usually have an idea of how long clients attend therapy with them. Depending on what you are looking for, this can be an important question to ask and give you details on the personalization of the treatment process. But be prepared this is a hard question because time is directly connected to what your goals and desires of therapy are. It also depends the state in which you are entering therapy be it that of proactive or crisis.
How is scheduling done and what are the hours? Therapist use different means of scheduling and you want to make sure you find one that's going to work with your lifestyle. Ease of online or paper and pencil? Hours are also very important as it will effect your your day to day activities, so you will need to find one that fits your schedule as therapy shouldn't bring more stress to your life's schedule.
Yvette E. McDonald is the owner and counselor at Traveling Light Counseling, a practice for individuals, couples and families helping them discover the person/couple they were always meant to be, as they become the best version of self in their roles and relationships in the Port Saint Lucie and Martin County area. She has hand-picked each clinician based on their specialty. With a goal to build a team that is the top in our area.