A psychotherapist, sometimes referred to as a psychologist or counselor, is an individual who specializes in psychotherapy or other types of psychological treatment. They usually have expertise in a range of areas such as human behavior, diagnosis & treatment, and mental health assessment. If you’re having issues with a relationship, dealing with job loss or the death of close relative, you may consider seeing a psychotherapist to help and guide you through the situation. But how do you choose one? There are several things you need to keep in mind when making this important decision.

What to ask a psychotherapist

1.What are their credentials?

Psychotherapists are typically required to have successfully completed a degree and other courses in order to practice in the field. In addition, they’re required to obtain license. Both these ensure that these health professionals meet all the standards that have been set so as to promote the best practice. The standards may include holding the necessary insurance, codes of conduct and criminal history checks. Psychotherapy practices may also have further accreditation, something that provides for more professional accountability as well as excellence in therapy.

2.How long have they been practicing?

Research does not show any much difference between qualities of client outcomes based on a counselor’s training but it shows that the longer one has been practicing, usually the better the therapy outcomes. As a result, an experienced therapist will be more likely to help you than one who’s fresh in the field. Be sure to choose a psychotherapist who has been around for at least 10 years (longer is better). In addition, make certain that the therapist has some experience with your specific problem; you don’t want to be the first time client for the issue you are grappling with!

3.What are their charges and payment options?

Before agreeing or signing anything, it’s important to find out what the psychotherapist charges for consultations. Usually, the fees charged by therapists vary from one to another and it’s wise to get an estimate of the charges to avoid surprises later. In addition, find out what payment options the therapist offers. Do they accept insurance? Or do they have options for reduced fees if finances are a concern for you in deciding whether or not to start seeing a therapist? If their payment options are not favorable for you, look elsewhere.

4.Does the psychotherapist seek peer consultation?

One of the professional activities in psychotherapy is regular consultation with other therapists and peers. In fact, consultation serves several purposes including receiving advice, reviewing cases, getting assistance and identifying one’s blind spots. It
provides the counselor with a degree of objectivity, necessary reality check and useful feedback. Even the best therapist benefits from working with others. 5.What is their availability? In most cases, people visit a counselor when they are stressed up with things and really need quick relief. A therapist who can see you as soon as possible is therefore preferable to one who has to be booked out a couple of weeks in advance.

It’s also very important that the therapist’s office is convenient for you. Are they close to work or home? The location of your psychologist can be the difference between you turning up for appointments on time and failing to show up at all.