Guidelines for Choosing a Therapist: Your Rights

There are many styles of therapy. How a therapist approaches helping an individual or family will depend on their clinical training, their type of intervention, and their personal style as a therapist. It can be difficult to find a competent therapist. As the consumer, before setting up an initial appointment, you have a right to ask questions about a therapist’s credentials. Common questions may include: a) are they licensed, b) how long they have been practicing, c) areas of expertise, d) the fee, and e) to give an idea how they might approach treating an area of concern. If you decide to set up an initial meeting, at the appointment you will be asked a variety of questions about your life and about your concerns. You have a right to share as much information as is comfortable at that time. If it causes undo distress, you have a right to tell the therapist that you want to put off discussing certain topics until a later time, and have this be respected. Once you have this initial consultation, it does not require you to work with this therapist. You have the right to decide if you feel this therapist would be useful to you and if you like their style. Ask yourself, do you think you can trust this therapist, and do they appear to understand your situation? Do you think you would be motivated to do the therapeutic work with this therapist? And as the therapy process continues, you have a right: a) to ask the reasons for pursuing a particular therapeutic direction, b) to reassess therapeutic goals, c) to discuss if you feel the therapy is useful or not and why, d) to feel there is a mutual respect and trust when discussing any concerns. Therapy can be very useful in life. If you feel a particular avenue of treatment is not helpful, first consider discussing this with your therapist. Some therapy goals need time for a successful outcome. If not resolved, and you feel the therapy has not been working for you, you have the right to look for alternative avenues for help.

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