Portrait of a Female psychologist making notes during psychological therapy session

It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by situations in life and feel like your problems are more than you can handle on your own. But how do you find someone who can help you address the problems you are facing? Knowing the right questions to ask and who to ask can help you more easily find the help you need.

Psychologists have been professionally trained in helping people overcome burdensome life circumstances. However, not all psychologists are right for all situations. Here are five questions you can ask a psychologist as you work to discover the right doctor for your unique needs and concerns.
Are You a Licensed Psychologist?
It’s important to seek out a licensed psychologist as you search for the right person for your specific issue. Licensed psychologists have specialized training and adhere to strict laws that ensure they are qualified to help people with a broad range of challenges.
What Are Your Fees?
It’s wise to ask how much a psychologist charges for each session before you make an appointment. Ask how long their appointments are, whether or not the office has a sliding scale fee policy (this means that the fees differ based on the client’s ability to pay) and what the appointment cancellation policy is. Knowing the costs and policies of your psychologist’s office before you begin treatment will help you to make the best use of the services they offer and feel more comfortable about meeting with them.
What Are Your Areas of Expertise?
Every psychologist has different types of people they specialize in caring for and different arenas of issues they have been trained in and are experienced in treating. Before you settle on a psychologist, ask the doctor about his or her specialties. Do they specialize in treating individuals, families, children or all of the above? Do they have knowledge and experience in handling your specific emotional issue, such as depression, anxiety, abuse or addiction?
It’s wise to pick a licensed psychologist who has experience treating situations that are similar to yours. That type of real-life experience will help a psychologist be able to assist you in overcoming all of the different aspects of your personal situation.
What Types of Treatment Do You Use?
There are many types of treatments available for each specific psychological issue. It’s wise to ask as you are researching psychologists what types of treatment they use and whether or not those treatment types have been shown effective for your particular health challenges.
If you’re not comfortable with a psychologist’s methods of treatment, ask questions so you can understand more about how those types of treatments work, or move on to another doctor who treats your specific issue in ways you are more comfortable with.
Asking questions of a doctor may cause you to feel a little uncomfortable. But it is better to get answers to these questions before spending a lot of time or money with a doctor or a therapy that isn’t effective or costs more than you can afford to pay.
The more clear you are on a psychologist’s specialties, methods of treatment and office policies before you start treatment, the better your overall experience with your health care provider will be.