Research has suggested that the match between a client and his or her therapist is one of the most important requirements, if not the most important requirement for effective therapy. It may take several sessions to know if there is a good fit between you and your therapist, but there is some important information that you should obtain before starting therapy. This can be done by asking the therapist during your initial phone call or session, or by doing some research on your own.
- What are the therapist's credentials? There are often many letters after a therapist's name, but we may not know what these letters mean. For example, is the therapist a psychologist (Psy D. or Ph D.), social worker (LCSW), marriage and family counselor (LMFT), ect.? This is important information to know in order to determine if the therapist has received the appropriate training to help you with your problems or concerns.
- Is the therapist licensed? A therapist may be certified in a particular area or specialty, but that does not mean that he or she is licensed to perform the services that he or she provides. When a therapist is licensed, it ensures that he or she is held to a particular standard that is enforced by a regulatory agency, such as the state.
- What qualifications does a therapist have that allows him or her to specialize in a certain treatment or disorder? This can range from work experience to specified training or certification. Has the therapist worked with this problem before and in what capacity?
- Do not hesitate to ask any other questions that you may have. All therapists know how important your comfort level is in order for therapy to be successful.