Questions to ask to help you find your “best fit” psychologist
Finding the “best fit” psychologist for yourself is tricky because how do you really know til you try? And if this is the first time you’re seeing someone then you have zero points of comparison. Over the years of seeing clients I’ve tried and tested out different ways of doing intake and I’d like to think that I’ve fine tuned it well enough because the clients that see me tend to stick around so I’d like to take this as a sign of it being a good fit. So what questions do I encourage you to ask and how can you figure out as much as possible before formally sitting down if someone is the right fit for you?
- Firstly compile a shortlist of people you’d be keen to see (refer to previous post for questions to consider). Then do the rounds of contact to find out who is currently taking on new clients and whether it matches to your availability.
- Now the next tip I have is to ask whether you can do a 10-15 min phone intake to discuss your needs and see if you can establish a level of comfort or connection – now this tip is a bit tricky as I know some group practices do not offer this due to their clinicians being heavily booked. They will often suggest you just book and decide after the initial consult. Personally I prefer not to do this as I understand it is costly and you may not want to use up 1 rebate when there are already limited sessions. However if you feel highly confident that it’s a good fit then go ahead OR you can ask whether you can email some questions through to the psychologist and sometimes this may help.
- Now if you’re able to get a phone call in then give the psychologist a brief overview of the reason for referral eg. Do you have a specific goal such as wanting to treat your OCD or dealing with work stress? Please try to refrain from doing a word dump of your life story – save this for initial consult. Then ask what approaches the psychologist uses, you will find most practice CBT. There are also other modalities out there such as ACT, ST, EFT etc etc – unless you’ve been specifically referred for a modality or if you tried some that didn’t work and you want something different this may or may not be as important to you. A quick Google or youtube search can often give you an idea of what each therapy entails.
- During the conversation consider how comfortable you felt talking to the psychologist. Were they very formal or informal? Did you feel they were able to listen and reflect a good understanding? Different people look for different things. I know I certainly have my style approach that works for my clients but I’m always very open to new intakes that in not going to be everyone’s “best fit”.
- Finally if it wasn’t a good fit don’t be shy to let them know. Please please please don’t feel coerced into booking in an appointment. You should not feel like they are a sales person trying to do a hard sell. If the psychologist is not a good fit don’t be afraid to ask if they know anyone else who fits the criteria you’re after. For instance I have technically been trained in couples therapy but personally I prefer not to work with couples and so will refer on to a colleague who only sees couples as this is her area of interest. If the cost is the same wouldn’t you rather see someone who is more skilled and more interested in the area you are needing help in?
Hope this helps 🙂
In our next blog post let’s talk about what to expect once you’ve booked in.