You have made the decision to seek therapy, the next step is not only about picking the right professional for you but making the first point of contact. As you explore the different avenues of finding a therapist you will run across various acronyms, below is an light explanation.
LCSW: Licensed Clinical Social Worker masters degree with clinical training treatment scope of resources for individuals and strength based.
LPC: Licensed Professional Counselor masters degree with clinical training treatment focus of individuals and developmental issue.
LMFT: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist masters degree with clinical training
treatment focus on relationships; marriage, family, and other groups.
LCP: Licensed Clinical Psychologist masters degree with clinical training administer cognitive testing and explores the root of dysfunction.
The word “Therapist” is interchangeable for the above licenced professionals. They all have expertise in human behavior and are able to assess, diagnosis, and provide treatment. Depending on the therapist and avenues that you found the therapist, your first contact could be an email, a needs survey, office visit, or a phone call. For some they don't make the first point of contact because they are not certain what to say or ask. To help those who need guidance, below are some questions you can ask:
What would treatment look like?
What is your past experience with my "problem"?
What type of training and schooling do you possess?
How long are individual sessions?
What insurance do you take?
Do you offer a sliding scale?
What approach would you use for me and my challenges?
What is your availability?
For some individuals they take into consideration a therapist's age, office location, years of experience, specialty, gender, and ethnicity, but know everyone is entitled to their own preference when it come to a therapist. Consider that this is someone that you will meet with frequently, discuss honestly your challenges of the week, and explore their recommendations, so picking the right therapist for you is important. It can also be time consuming as it can take a while to find the right fit, so don't feel that once the first session happens you are stuck with that therapist. You have options. I think the most important thing to consider when picking a therapist is your gut feeling. When I first meet with clients I encourage clients to self reflect and see if I am a good fit.
Congratulations on the steps you have taken thus far in making change in your life. What questions do you feel you will actually use?
Stay tuned as I continue to write about the therapeutic process. If you want to know more about a subject or topic inbox me.