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 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.
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.
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.