When you hear the words, “now hiring” the last person to come to mind maybe a therapist. Yes, YOU are technically hiring your therapist. Just as a company reviews your qualifications, references, etc before inviting you to an interview or offering you a position, we should be doing the same. Any one you’re paying for a service be it a housekeeper or medical professional, you have the right to hire and fire according to your needs. After all, who likes wasting hard earned money?
When it comes to finding and hiring a therapist you have complete control. If you are going into therapy with expectancy, transparency and vulnerability, this will undoubtedly be the most intimate relationship that you will ever have. With this thought in mind, in order to receive the best possible outcome, it was imperative that I had a therapist who would consistently offer a welcoming environment and trust.
By reviewing their website, reading client reviews and in the consultation, here are 10 questions that I asked to choose my therapist:
Are they black?
You may be thinking, a therapist is a therapist and to an extent that is true. However, I wanted a black therapist because the absolute last thing I wanted to be doing in therapy is explaining cultural experiences. However, if race is not important to you…question two is for you.
Are they culturally competent?
Having a therapist who has a vast knowledge of other cultures, their practices, beliefs, etc helps you feel both seen and heard.
Does this person hold any biases towards communities that I am a part of or an ally to?
Believe it or not-therapists can be biased and participate in discrimination too. As a black person, a woman and a plus size individual, these are the areas of my life where I experience the most prejudice and discrimination in everyday encounters. However, because I have friends of different religions, races, ethnicities and sexual orientations, I would not support anyone who directly or indirectly voiced their disdain towards any of those marginalized groups. Yes, I looked at potential therapists personal social media pages because oftentimes, they let their guard down and share their true feelings.
What religion do they observe?
Although I am not the most religious person, I am spiritually guided and make decisions based on my faith. Your therapist should mirror or at the very least respect and understand your faith.
What is their speciality?
This is particularly helpful if you already have a diagnosis. But if not, your potential therapist will sort this out with you. There are a myriad of mental health illnesses and diseases, and you want your therapist to be knowledgeable in your area(s) of concern.
What is the confidentiality policy?
While everything between you and your therapist stays between you, there are instances when information must be shared. For instance, if you share thoughts of self-harm, a loved one (that you identified a safe person) may be contacted.
What do they expect from you?
Therapy is hard work. Your work may end at the end of your session or there may be exercises to do outside of your session. Knowing their expectations from you as a potential client will let you know if you’re able to make the commitment.
Are they licensed in your state?
Therapist can only operate in a state in which they are licensed. While you can opt for someone who does not live in your particular city, you can only see a therapist within the state you currently reside.
What is the payment structure?
Life changes and can do so very quickly. This means that benefits such as insurance and income can change along with it. I searched for a therapist that not only accepted insurance but private pay, bulk session discounts and income based or a sliding fee scale. That way, no matter what changes life presented, therapy can be ongoing to fit my employment and/or financial changes.
Do they have the capacity to take on new clients?
Although clients meet on varying schedules, having a therapist who is accessible is critical. No, we’re not talking about being able to text your therapist at 2 am but if you have an emergency and need to reschedule, can you do so quickly or will you have to wait a month or two to be seen again?
Whether you have a specific concern or just want to have an unbiased ear to listen, everyone can benefit from therapy. For tips on finding a therapist or therapy resources, check out this article: https://ca.style.yahoo.com/mental-health-resources-bipoc-tips-resources-181429800.html