What You Should Ask Before Your First Therapy Session

Every Sophia client gets connected with their new therapist for a free phone consultation before their first therapy session.

Here are six quick tips to make the most of this phone call:

  • Give an overview. It can be helpful to kick off the call by telling your therapist a little bit about who you are (your age, employment, marital status – any information that might be relevant to your therapy relationship). Next, give your therapist a high-level sense of the issues you’re dealing with. Aim for a one or two minute overview – no need to go into a lot of detail.
  • Ask them for an overview. Ask your therapist to tell you about themselves in return! You can ask what types of issues they specialize in, or what types of people (age, gender, etc) they are best at working with. You can also ask what their therapy style is like. Do they like to let the client lead the conversation, or do they give direction? Do they prefer to use a specific method of therapy, or are they flexible? Do they give homework? Do they talk about their own lives, when relevant? There are no “right” or “wrong” answers to these questions – just be aware of what might work best for you.
  • Ask for an example. Just like in a job interview, it can be really helpful to ask therapists about specific actions in past situations. Choose one of your concerns or symptoms, and ask how they have worked with another client dealing with similar issues.
  • Be patient. Understand that this phone call is a consultation, not a therapy session. The purpose of the call is for you and your therapist to get a better sense of each other’s style and personality, not to dig into your issues or come up with solutions.
  • Ask about payment. Make sure to ask your therapist what their fee is. If budget is an issue, feel free to ask them if they have a sliding scale (sometimes therapists will offer discounts to people with low incomes). Additionally, if you’re hoping to use out of network benefits to pay for therapy, ask them if they help with billing or if they provide superbills (receipts for therapy that you’ll send to your insurer).
  • Trust your gut. If you have a positive or negative reaction to the therapist, pay attention! If you don’t think you’ll click with the therapist, it is absolutely fine to email them, text them, or leave a voicemail saying so. You don’t need to explain your reasons. It’s also ok to ask for referrals to other therapists.

Above all, don’t stress out. The call won’t last very long – usually, 10 to 15 minutes. You can even think of it as a way to give therapy, and your therapist, a test drive!

 Photo by  Caleb Whiting  on  Unsplash

Photo by Caleb Whiting on Unsplash

For a more comprehensive guide on how to find a therapist, click here.