TIPS FOR FINDING A THERAPIST
Questions to Ask: Choosing a Treatment Provider
It is appropriate and expected to ask questions during a brief telephone, email, or in-person consultation to see if a treatment provider is the right one for you. Before he or she can respond to some of your questions, you may be asked to give your age, your diagnosis or the problems you are seeking help with, as well as any treatment history.
- What are the costs?
- Do you accept my insurance?
- If not, what arrangements do you have for payment? Do you have low-fee or sliding-scale options?
- What training and experience do you have in treating anxiety disorders, depression, OCD, PTSD and other related disorders?
- Do you have a license or certification by the state? If so, in what profession?
- Could you describe how you would work with a person like me?
- Do you give homework or reading to do between sessions?
- How often and for how long would you anticipate seeing me?
- How long do you expect it to take before I begin feeling better?
- If possible, it’s best to work with a therapist who specializes in your disorder. Below are common terms that specialists use. A therapist who is unfamiliar with these terms may be a general mental health provider who might not be up to date in specific treatments for anxiety disorders, OCD, PTSD, or depression.
- For OCD — Ask about ERP (exposure and response or ritual prevention)
- For panic disorder and phobias — Ask about exposure-based treatments.
- For generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) — Ask if the therapist does something more than relaxation and if so, what that might be. Ask what specific cognitive therapy techniques will be used.
- For depression — Ask if the therapist will do more than explore the origins of your symptoms. Ask about treating your symptoms directly, such as interrupting ruminations (repetitive worry and preoccupations). Find out if this therapist can prescribe medications or work with a prescribing physician if medications are needed.
Important Things to Keep in Mind When Looking for a Therapist for Treatment of OCD
Remember that some therapists are better at treating OCD than others. It is important to interview therapists to find out if they know how to do Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy well. Their responses to your questions are a good guide to what you want to know about a new therapist.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- You have a perfect right to ask questions. This is your life and health!
- If he or she is guarded, withholds information, or becomes angry at your requests for information, you should probably look elsewhere.
- If the therapist appreciates how important a decision this is for you and is open, friendly, and knowledgeable, you may have a gem of a therapist!
- Your relationship with the therapist is important. Especially since they will be asking you to do things that you find uncomfortable.
Tips for Interviewing Therapists for Treatment of OCD: What Should I Ask?
"What techniques do you use to treat OCD?"
"Do you use Exposure and Response Prevention to treat OCD?"
Be cautious of therapists who say they use CBT, but won't be more specific.
"How much of your practice currently involves anxiety disorders?"
"Do you feel that you have been effective in your treatment of OCD?"
"What is your attitude towards medicine in the treatment of OCD?"
If they are negative about medicine, this is a bad sign. Medicine is an effective treatment for OCD.
"Are you willing to leave your office if needed to do behavior therapy?"
It is sometimes necessary to go out of the office to do effective ERP.