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How to Start Therapy: The Initial Consultation Call and Questions to Ask

In our previous blog post, "How to Start Therapy," we delved into the essential steps to embark on your therapeutic journey. Today, let's zoom in on a crucial aspect: making the initial calls. The process of reaching out for help can be intimidating for many clients, often accompanied by the pressure to articulate their situation perfectly. However, the beauty lies in the exploration, and not having all the answers can be an excellent starting point.

1. You Don't Need to Speak in Clinical Terms

As a client, there's no expectation for you to be fluent in clinical jargon or to understand theoretical orientations. If you're unsure where to begin or what questions to ask, start by describing how you feel and the impact on your life. Using simple descriptors like feeling disconnected, experiencing heaviness, tightness, or dullness can effectively convey your experience.

2. Structured or Flexible?

Consider your preferences for session structure. Reflect on whether you envision highly structured sessions with preset topics led by the therapist, or if you prefer the flexibility to bring in your thoughts and feelings organically. Determine whether you'd benefit from an active therapist guiding the process or one who allows more space for your input.

3. Questions for the Therapist

During the initial consultation call, it's not just about you providing information. Take the opportunity to ask questions that will help you assess the fit between you and the therapist. Some questions to consider:

  • Have you worked with clients facing similar issues to mine?

  • Can you describe what a typical session with you looks like?

  • Do you assign homework between sessions?

  • How do you handle it if the therapeutic fit doesn't seem right to either of us?

  • What is your fee per session?

  • How frequently do you recommend sessions, weekly or bi-weekly?

  • Are there any expectations or requirements you have for your clients?

These questions not only give you valuable insights into the therapist's approach but also help establish whether there's a potential fit between your goals and the therapist's expertise.

Remember, the initial call is a two-way street. Both you and the therapist are evaluating if this could be a productive therapeutic relationship. Embrace the uncertainty, ask questions, and explore if you might be able to trust the process with what you are hearing. It's a significant step towards finding the support you need.



San Mateo Burlingame Psychologist Therapist counseling therapy mental health

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