You may find it helpful asking some of the following questions of your prospective therapist. The therapist may not always answer the question, but you will get a sense of how they respond to you, even if you don't get a direct answer.

The following Questions to Ask a Therapist are adapted from

It's Your Hour: a guide to queer-affirmative psychotherapy

by Bettinger, M. Alyson Books, 2001.

You can download a version in Word format for printing.

Attitude Toward Queerness

Do you believe in love between two people of the same sex?

Do you believe that sexual orientation can or should be changed?

Do you believe an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person can live a spiritually rich and satisfying life?

Do you know of any happy and successful long-term same sex couples?

How do you generally work with gay or lesbian people?

What work have you done to understand your own anti-homosexual bias?

Training

What has been your training?

What qualifications have you been awarded?

What postgraduate training programmes have you completed?

What specific training have you done to work with sexual minority clients?

What reading have you done about gay psychology/therapy?

When did you last attend a workshop/seminar on working with sexual minority clients?

Experience

How long have you been practising counselling or psychotherapy?

Where else have you worked besides your present position?

What jobs or careers have you had besides being a therapist?

What non-professional experiences have you had to qualify you for the work you are now doing?

Credentials and Professional Orientation

Are you a member of any professional organisations?

Which ones?

Are you Accredited or Registered by any professional therapy associations?

Have any complaints been filed against you with any professional ethics organisation?

How do you describe your professional orientation to therapy?

Which of the major schools of psychotherapy are the most attractive to you?

Competence

Have you treated other people with problems similar to mine?

How do you determine how often we should meet?

Can you prescribe psychoactive medications if I need them?

If not, do you work with a physician or a psychiatrist who can evaluate me and prescribed medication?

Are you willing to consult with other mental health or medical professionals with whom I have worked?

Do you consult with other professionals regarding individuals on your caseload?

How do you safeguard my right to confidentiality in those situations?

Are you willing or able to see my family members or life partner if that should seem necessary?

If so, can or should I be present?

Will you ever meet with them without my being present?

Have you ever been sued for malpractice?

What was the outcome of that lawsuit?

Business Practices

What is your fee?

Is there a sliding scale?

If there is a sliding scale, how does it work?

Are you able to accept medical insurance?

How do you handle the paperwork?

Do you, or do I, have to fill out the paperwork?

What is your telephone availability?

Do you encourage or discourage telephone contact between meetings?

Personal

Do you personally identify as queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning?

You identify as being clean and sober?

 If so, are you in recovery?

Do you attend any 12-step groups?

What is your personal experience as a client in psychotherapy?

How do you feel it benefited you?

Comfort and Chemistry (questions to ask yourself after the initial meeting)

Did you feel understood?

Did the therapist understand your reason for being there?

Did you feel liked by the therapist?

Did you like the therapist?

Did you like his or her values?

Did you agree with them?

Did you have an initial feeling of trust in the therapist?

Did the therapist appear to be sensitive to your feelings?

Did you feel respected by the therapist?

Did you feel he or she was treating you as an equal?

Did you feel comfortable talking to this therapist?

Were you able to say what you wanted to say?

Were you able to be yourself?

Did you feel a need to hide anything?

Were you honest?

Did the therapist convey a feeling of personal warmth?

Did the therapist seem to have a sense of humour?

Was he or she overly serious?

Did you get a feeling this person was wise? Knowledgeable?

Was he or she able to go past theories and understand the nature of the world?

Did he or she convey an interest in you and your reasons for being in his or her office?

Did the therapist make eye contact with you? Was that comfortable for you?

Did you get any feedback from the therapist? Was it helpful? Insightful?

Did you come away with any greater understanding of yourself than you had before the first meeting?

Did you disagree with the therapist at any point? How did that go? Was the therapist defensive and go to sleep?

Could he or she disagree with you in a comfortable manner?

Do you look forward to talking with the therapist again?

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