Choosing the Right Therapist

Selecting a therapist is personal and there are a many things to consider when choosing one.
To start, take the attitude that you are a consumer trying to make an educated decision
about the person you're hiring.

Conduct a telephone interview with as many therapists as possible. By paying attention to
how a therapist responds to your questions on the telephone, you may get a better sense of
their ability to listen, ask questions and response mannerisms. Remember, this experience
may be new to you, but it is not new to the therapist.

Below are some questions to ask that may help determine if you want to meet the therapist.
Other issues, such as a therapist's style can’t be determined until initiating therapy.

1.   Is the therapist licensed and in “good standing” with their licensing board?
Being licensed and in “good standing” means that the therapist has met,
and continues to meet, the minimum standard for licensing by the California
Board of Behavioral Sciences. Ask if the therapist is licensed and in good             
standing. To verify a therapist’s license in the state of California
click here.

2.   Does the therapist provide flexible scheduling?
Session times should be as convenient to your work and personal needs as
possible. Prior to contacting the therapist, have a few appointment days and
times in mind and ask if the therapist sees clients during those times. Don’t forget
to think about Saturday or evenings as possible appointment times too.

3.   Is the therapist conveniently located?
Like scheduling sessions, proximity is important. Location should not be an

4.   Does the therapist have experience treating clients with issues similar to yours?
While it’s not necessary for the therapist to have experience in helping others
with your exact problem, she or he should be familiar with your type of situation
and be able to tell you how they've helped others in similar circumstances.

5.   Is there a fit?
Research shows that the quality of the therapist / client relationship is crucial to
the success of the work. When meeting a therapist for the first time, assess your
comfort level. For you to reveal yourself, you will need to feel safe and at ease.
Would you be more comfortable with a male or female therapist? Is sharing your
thoughts with someone from a similar cultural or ethnic background important?
All rights reserved.
Kari Lloyd-Fisher, MA
Licensed Marriage Family Therapist
CA License MFC 42869
Offices in Davis & Sacramento