Orlando Counseling Providing Anxiety, Trauma and Relationship Therapy
It can be nerve wracking to call a new counselor to schedule a first appointment. Telling a complete stranger that your life is difficult right now can cause anxiety. Sharing the details around what is not working in your life is a tough thing to do.
Relief is right around the corner for you. You've decided to recruit a counselor in Orlando to help you through these difficult times, so you're already moving down the healing path. You're taking the steps necessary for your own healing. You're already doing the work! (If you need some help finding a therapist in Orlando, you can check out my last article, Finding a Therapist in Orlando).
As an anxiety and trauma therapist providing counseling in Orlando, I wanted to provide a list of questions to ensure the therapist you've chosen is a good fit for you. You want to make sure the Orlando counselor is qualified to help you with your problem, is a good fit for your personality, works within your budget, and isn't on the opposite end of I-4 (if location is important to you). Whether you are looking for a therapist for anxiety or a relationship counselor, you should interview the your counselor before scheduling your first appointment.
Questions to ask your Orlando counselor before you schedule the first appointment...
What are your specialties?
Ask the therapist what they specialize in? If you're looking for a counselor to help with anxiety and you've called someone that specializes in marriage counseling, you need to know that. You want to make sure that the person you are seeing has experience working with your problem. If you need surgery on your back, you wouldn't call a foot surgeon to give you back surgery. Same thing applies here.
What is your level of training?
Find out what kind of trainings your therapist has completed and how much training they've received. For example, if you're looking for a trauma therapist in Orlando, you can find counselors that have training in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), ART (Accelerated Resolution Therapy), EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. The level of training varies vastly. Some therapist have the basic level of training and some are certified and have become trainers of the modality. It's important to know that your therapist has the training they need to help you with your problem.
How will you help me?
Healing happens in an infinite number of ways, so how you travel the road of healing with one therapist will be different than with another therapist. We don't all get their the same way. Ask the counselor how they can help you with your problem. You want to make sure their answer is something that makes sense to you. For example, I use Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and EMDR. Therapy in my office is going to look very different from someone that uses Cognitive Behavior Therapy or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.
Do you give homework?
Some counselors give homework between sessions, such as myself. My opinion is that it speeds up the therapeutic process. Clients that complete their homework make more progress in a shorter amount of time and therefore get more therapeutic bang for their buck. Some of my colleagues, on the other hand, have a very different opinion and say, "There is no way I would do homework that my therapist assigned, so I am not giving my clients homework." First ask yourself what is your preference and then ask your counselor and make sure your views align.
What is your cancellation policy?
Most counselors have a cancellation policy in place and knowing what that is prevents any misunderstanding down the road. For example, some therapists have either a 24 or 48 hour cancellation policy, meaning that if you cancel within the the 24 or 48 hours, you will be required to pay the session rate.
Do you take my insurance?
Not everyone wants to use their insurance benefits for their mental health care. I will be covering the pros and cons and the ins and outs of using your insurance in my next post on June 5. If you plan to use your "in network" benefits, you will ask the therapist if they accept your insurance. If you want to use your "out of network" benefits, ask the counselor if they will provide a Superbill for you submit to your insurance company.
What is your cost per session?
If you planning to pay for your mental health counseling out of pocket, it's important for you to ask you the counselor about their fees. Know what your monthly budget is for therapy and make sure the counselor's fees fit within your budget.
How often will we meet?
I like to see my clients weekly in the beginning of the therapeutic relationship because it builds momentum toward your goals for therapy. Once we are meeting your goals for therapy, we can drop down to every other week until you're done. Other counselors are fine meeting with you every other week or even monthly in the beginning. It really depends on your counselor. Knowing how often your counselor wants to meet with you impacts your scheduling and your budget for counseling.
What is your availability?
There are two parts to this. Do you need to talk someone now? Or can it wait a few weeks? Find out how soon your Orlando therapist can see you. Next, do you need to see your counselor at a certain time of the day? For example, you know you plan to see your counselor after work, so you need evening appointments. Make sure the counselor has evening time available. I suggest requesting a day and time and that being your regular appointment each week. This saves your therapy time for therapy, and you're not using session time for scheduling appointments.
Where are your located?
Ok y'all, we've all experienced the I-4 parking lot and it is no fun at all. If you live in Lake Mary, you probably don't want to see a therapist off of Sand Lake Road at 5 pm on a Wednesday. Consider where you live and where you work and try to see a therapist that is close to one of these locations. It doesn't make sense if getting to your therapy appointment causes more anxiety than you're actually experiencing in your life, so consider the location and the commute. However, if you found an Orlando counselor that has the training and skills you want, the drive might be worth it. I have worked with clients that were looking for my specific specialization and traveled pretty far to see me. We just scheduled our appointments during times when I-4 was less of a mess.
Asking these questions will not only help you find out the information, it will also give a sense of the ebb and flow of the therapeutic relationship that is beginning to develop. Ask yourself: Did the conversation feel good? Can I see myself opening up to this person and sharing details about my life?
Please feel free to add to the list, especially if you're a counselor in Orlando. What are other important questions to ask before scheduling your first appointment?
Lauran is an anxiety and trauma therapist providing counseling in Orlando, FL. She also specializes in helping people heal old broken relationship patterns that keep them from finding, creating, and keeping healthy relationships with partners, friends, and family. Lauran uses a down to earth approach infused with cutting-edge therapies that go beyond traditional talking to help clients feel calm in their body and mind and find peace within themselves.