Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I look for a therapist?

ls in your area. Therapists are only allowed to practice within the state they are licensed in. For example, a therapist licensed in California can NOT provide therapy services to clients in Arizona or any other state if they are not licensed there.

Consider looking at the filter list to find a therapist that specializes in the problem are you are seeking to get help for (e.g. depression, anxiety, abandonment, life transitions, trauma, etc.).

Call your therapist to ask a few of the questions listed below in the “Common questions to ask a therapist” (listed below).

When are you available for sessions?

How long are the sessions?

Have you worked with someone that has lived experiences such as mine? Or, have you worked with someone that has my identities?

What is your process for the first session?

What kind of therapy treatment/modality do you practice with your clients (e.g. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic, EMDR, Neurofeedback, etc.) Don’t be afraid to ask what are the specifics of each.

How do you modify modalities for clients of color?

How do you integrate social justice into your practice?

How can I tell if I would be making progress?

What is your rate for each session? Or,

Do you accept insurance?

What is your process for verifying that my sessions are covered? (If this isn’t verified 100%, it is possible you will have to pay the therapist out-of-pocket, so it’s best to check before your first session).

This depends on the reason why you are seeking therapy. You want to be sure that your therapist specializes in this area. For example, if you are starting therapy because of trauma. It is important that your therapist is trauma-informed and comfortable working with this. Same thing if you are looking for a couple’s counselor. Every therapist has their own specialties. In addition, if you are seeking to get psychological testing, in most states, only psychologists are trained for this.

It just depends on the type of evaluation that is needed.

Typically, the first session is an assessment session where the therapist gathers the client’s biopsychosocial history. This means we ask about the psychology of the client’s patterns, the health and illness history, and the client’s social factors are evaluated. Some therapists use the first couple of sessions to complete this. Some therapists have a longer first session to complete the evaluation.

Everybody is different and there is no telling how long you will receive treatment. Therapy is a process and the way goals are reached is different among everyone. For people seeking individual therapy, sessions are commonly 50 minutes.

No. Psychotherapists do not complete medical training/schooling. Psychologists (those with doctoral degrees and passed their clinical board exam also cannot prescribe medications. Psychiatrists are doctors that have training in the medical field and psychology field. Psychiatrists prescribe and recommend medications.

If you do not like your therapist upon meeting them, you are not obligated to stay with your therapist. It is encouraged to communicate with your therapist about your reasons and either create a plan with them to transition or work through any misunderstandings that have come up.

In some cases, if you feel that you and the therapist do not share values (it happens), then communicate your needs and if your boundary is to end and transfer to someone else, that is okay!

Therapy is the start of a professional relationship, and each relationship takes work. It can be awkward at first, but with communication, it is possible to create a very powerful dynamic that can lead you towards your goals.

No. Confidentiality is part of a therapists’ code of ethics. What you share with your therapist will be kept between you two, even if you are a minor. There are some exceptions to this rule, as described below.

If a client discloses child abuse, abuse on an elderly person, or someone who is disabled (physical, sexual, or financial abuse).
If a client is an immediate danger to himself or others.

To share diagnosis information as necessary to an insurance company for payment.
If there is a court order.

At your first visit, your therapist/psychologist should give you written information explaining privacy policies and how your personal information will be handled.

This varies by state. In CA, minors ages 12 and older can consent to their own treatment. A parent’s approval or signature is not necessary.

For minors with divorced parents, the parent that holds legal custody provides consent. If parents hold joint custody, both parents must consent to treatment.

An associate or intern are therapists that are in the process of completing their hours for licensure and need to pass their licensing board exam.

Any professional that is licensed has accrued 3,000 hours and passed their board exam. They also are required to complete continuing education each year. They cannot prescribe medication.

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that can provide psychotherapy and prescribe or refill medication.

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