Finding the right therapist

What questions should I ask the therapist before therapy begins?

The following are a list of recommended questions, however do also ask your therapist any others that come to mind

  • How many sessions will I have?
  • What type of therapy do you offer?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What happens if I miss a session?
  • What happens if I want to take a vacation? Will I still have to pay?
  • Will our sessions together be confidential?
  • Will you make notes during the session, and if so, what happens to these?
  • Can I contact you in between sessions?

Key fact sheet 3 provides more suggestions for questions you may find useful to ask your counsellor or psychotherapist.


What should I look for in a therapist?

Before your sessions begin, you should ask for details on what qualifications the therapist has and whether they are a member of a credible professional body such as The Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. If you reside in a province in which counselling/psychotherapy is regulated, ensure that your therapist is a member of the provincial regulatory college (and has obtained a permit where required).

It may also be useful to find out whether the therapist has experience and training in working with the particular area of concern that has taken you to therapy.


How do I know which is the right therapist for me?

When you first talk to your chosen therapist, you should feel you can trust them and that you would be comfortable talking with them about very personal thoughts and feelings.

If you don’t feel this is the case, you may want to consider finding someone else who you feel is more suited to you.

Key fact sheet 2 provides further guidance for choosing your therapist.


What if I don’t like my therapist?

If you don’t feel comfortable with your therapist when you first meet, then you should contact someone else.

If you have had several sessions, inform your therapist that you are feeling uncomfortable, as this may need to be addressed as part of the therapy.

If you continue to feel unhappy with your therapist, you may wish to consider seeking another.


What can I do if it doesn’t work?

If you feel that therapy is not making a difference, discuss this with your therapist to try to find a way forward. If you cannot come to a resolution, you may wish to go to another service provider.

Client information sheet 1 provides useful information to help you deal with this situation in the best way.


How do I know if my therapist is qualified?

Ask your therapist for details of their qualifications and to explain what they mean.

If you’re still unsure, contact the professional body in which your therapist is a member in order to verify their qualifications.


Does a therapist have to be licensed?

Currently there is no legal requirement for therapist to be licensed in most Canadian provinces with the exception of Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Alberta. However, it is wise to choose a therapist who is a member of a credible professional body and who is insured to practice.


How can I end my sessions in therapy?

You need to discuss this with your therapist in order to bring things to a satisfactory close.

If you feel you cannot do this face to face, you could give notice of wishing to end sessions in writing to your service provider.

Do however bear in mind any agreement you made at the beginning of your sessions regards to ending the process.