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Questions to ask a psychologist

Following are some of the questions you can ask your psychologist before proceeding for sessions with them.

What are their qualifications and how many years of experience do they possess?

It is important to understand the nature of your psychologist’s qualifications and if they are licensed to offer the services you are looking for. Along with understanding their educational background, it is also important to understand the years of experience they possess. It might also be helpful to ask how many clients have they treated earlier who have the same condition as you or who share similar concerns.

State your concerns to them and ask them how they would go about treating this?

This will help you in understanding whether the psychologist is able to describe his/her process in a fashion that is comprehensible to you. Or if they are using jargons that go well over your head. However, if this is the case, then most often than not one can expect the same during counselling/ therapy too. Hence it is important to see if they are able to help you in making sense of things.

What is the role of this therapeutic relationship in our work?

The therapeutic relationship is of great importance when deciding the success of therapy. The therapeutic relationship is more important than the specific techniques used in therapy. Some psychologists view therapy as a place where you simply learn the skills which can then be applied outside the session. Whereas other therapists view the therapeutic relationship as an extension to the real-life relationships of the client and use this as an opportunity to understand more about the client’s interaction patterns in the outside world. This helps in deciding what kind of therapy you are looking for- whether you want therapy to be a source of information or a place where you can gain more insight into your own patterns and practise the skills with your psychologist.

Ask the psychologist about their theoretical orientation

There are various kinds of therapists. Some may be more focused on the immediate concern while others would believe it’s more important to focus on the deeper issue. Some approaches focus more on dealing with the thought processes and behaviours while others may focus more on the emotional expression.

Psychodynamic therapy- in this form of psychotherapy the focus is on unearthing the unconscious material that is leading to psychic tension in the individual. They try to gain insight into how these unconscious factors have manifested in the individual’s behaviour

Cognitive behavioural therapy- here the focus is on the way you think and behave. CBT will help you with managing the concerns you are facing by challenging the unhelpful ways of thinking. There are several such approaches stemming from various theoretical frameworks. 

While it’s important to ask your psychologist these questions, it’s also important to ask yourself certain questions before you proceed into therapy or counselling with them. These could include questions such as- 

  • Were you able to connect to them?

  • Are you comfortable talking to him/her? 

  • Are you comfortable sharing and discussing private matters with them? 

  • Did you feel at ease, relaxed or calm while talking to them? 

  • Did the conversation flow smoothly or was it too awkward?