Wondering what to ask a potential online therapist during an initial consultation?
So, you’ve made the commitment to seeking a therapist and you’ve decided to try out virtual or online therapy. You’ve followed steps 1 and 2 of my guide to finding an online therapist in NYC and you have initial consultations scheduled with a few different online counselors in the New York City area. But…now what?! What do you ask a therapist in a 20-minute consultation to help you assess whether they are a good match to work with for your anxiety or depression? How will you know whether this counselor can help you improve your relationships or manage your work-life balance?
Here are some questions to ask during your initial consultation:
1. What is therapy like for anxiety (or depression, or whatever other issue you’d like to work on)?
The sort of treatment you should undertake depends on a lot of variables. If you are looking for someone to give you directives and hold you to task, that will be a very different type of treatment philosophy than with someone who believes the work is more about development of your internal capacity for self-understanding and self-motivation. You’ll want to know how your therapist views the work that you will do together.
2. How long will we be working together?
Different therapists have different ideas about how long therapy will/should last. Some view counseling as a short-term fix to a specific problem, whereas others view treatment as a journey through which one develops a deep sense of self-awareness and increases their agency in choosing a life they love. If you imagine a get-in/get-out approach, rather than a lengthier process of reflection and depth of understanding, you’ll want to know where your potential online therapist stands on this before making a commitment.
3. How do you conduct online therapy sessions?
Online therapy is very different in some ways than in-person therapy. The most obvious is that online therapy relies on technology to bring the online therapist and patient together for a therapy session. You’ll want to know about how your potential therapist conducts online therapy sessions – will you be expected to download an app? Will the technology utilized for sessions be compliant with the privacy laws for keeping healthcare information protected (HIPAA)? – and should expect that your potential therapist has a procedure for handling any technological glitches that will inevitably occur.
4. Is online therapy right for me?
You’ve done research about online therapy and think it seems like a great fit for your busy lifestyle, but you’ll also want to know your potential counselor’s opinion as to who should or should not engage in virtual therapy. If the therapist you are consulting does not seem to have any parameters about who they will work with in a virtual setting, then chances are they are not experienced enough in providing online therapy to really understand the nuances involved.
If you’d like to know my answers to the above questions and/or want to learn more about how online therapy sessions with me might help you, please contact me here to schedule a free initial consultation.