QUESTIONS YOU CAN CONSIDERING ASKING YOURSELF AND SERVICE PROVIDERS TO PREPARE TO GET SUPPORT
QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK YOURSELF BEFORE ACCESSING ANY MENTAL HEALTH CARE SERVICES:
- What do I imagine services will be like? What are my expectations?
- What am I hoping to work on? What goals do I have?
- Am I hoping to address an immediate problem, or do I want to focus on deeper issues?
- For how long do I expect to receive services?
- How much can I afford weekly/monthly/yearly?
QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT ASK YOUR SERVICE PROVIDER WHEN YOU ARE SETTING UP AN APPOINTMENT OR DURING YOUR FIRST MEETING:
- How do you usually approach therapy? What should I expect from working with you?
- How often will we see each other and for how long?
- What are the fees for service? Is there a sliding scale?
- Are your services generally covered by private insurance?
- What is your availability like?
- Who is your licensing body and what professional designation are you licensed as? (e.g., psychotherapist, psychologist, counsellor, social worker, drama therapist, art therapist)
- Is your licence active and in good standing?
- How many years have you been seeing clients for?
- What are your areas of expertise?
- I am here because ___ (I am feeling stressed, I feel sad, I lost a person close to me, I feel disoriented, etc.), and I’m having trouble ___ (at work, at home, in social situations, sleeping, etc.). What has been your experience treating this kind of problem? What type of training or clinical experiences have you had in treating the kinds of problems I am having (mood problems, anxiety, sleep difficulties, etc.)?
- Do you continue to educate yourself?
- Do you have supervision? (Supervision means discussing cases with another professional to improve one’s ability to be a good practitioner.)
- What type of treatments do you use? How effective are they in dealing with situations similar to mine? How do you know if treatment is working, and what do you do when it doesn’t work?
- Does your work in therapy tend to be focused more on the past or on the present? Do you tend to see people for long-term therapy or for short-term therapy?
- Do you tend to lead the session, or follow my lead?
- What role does the relationship between us play in your work?
- What are your strengths as a therapist?
- What is expected from me? (For instance, are there homework assignments?)
QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK YOURSELF AFTER THE FIRST SESSION IS OVER:
- Did I feel like the provider heard what I was saying?
- Did I feel like the provider respected me?
- Was the provider passive or active in the session? What do I like better?
- Does it seem like the provider will be open to hearing about all my feelings, including any frustration I may feel about them or their services?
- Did I feel better or worse after the session?
- Did I feel comfortable with the clinician?
- Did this seem like a safe place to express my thoughts, concerns and feelings?
QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT ASK TO KNOW MORE ABOUT YOUR SERVICE PROVIDER’S EXPERIENCES WORKING WITH 2SLGBTQIA+ COMMUNITIES:
- Would you be open to telling me if you’re a member or ally of an 2SLGBTQIA+ community?
- Do you use an affirmative approach for 2SLGBTQIA+ clients?
- Do you have any specialized training for working with 2SLGBTQIA+ clients?
- (For 2SLGBTQIA+ community therapists) Because our community is small, what should I do if I see you in public?
- Are you aware of the ways that discrimination and racism affect mental health, especially for queer and trans folks
- Are you comfortable talking about the differences in our identities?
- Do you feel comfortable talking about white/cis/hetero privilege?
- How would you respond if I pointed out that a comment you made was racist, or biased in some way?