Interview your Therapist

I’ve mentioned before that before starting with a new counselor it is important to interview them just like any other person you would hire for a job.  I decided not to go with one counselor after the second visit because it was so obvious by her actions that she knew very little about working with a person with PTSD.  Some examples is that she had me with my back to the door, she walked behind me without explaining why, she had herself back lit by a window so I couldn’t see her expressions and during our conversation she asked me if any one believed me.  Wow.  In my case, the guy went to prison.  Not because of my testimony but someone else spoke up.  She said she worked with people with PTSD but her actions told a different story.

On the PTSD group I am part of on Facebook one of the people shared her list of questions.  I did change a few to make them more generic and not identify who she is or where she lives.  Under hers I will add some of the ones I added.

Questions asked by someone from the group I am in.  She gave permission to share.  I removed Identifying factors.

1. What does the phrase “Trauma Informed Care” mean to you as a therapist?
2. Do you recognize the diagnosis of Complex PTSD? Do you believe there are additional challenges to this diagnosis compared to PTSD?
3. Do you believe that a longtime diagnosis of MDD and GAD have a deep connection to a more primary diagnosis of C-PTSD and PTSD?
4. Do you have familiarity with the Cluster B personality disorders BPD and NPD? Have you had experience working with clients who have suffered abuse from Cluster B personality types?
5. Are you familiar with working with clients who have had longtime therapy with several modalities and therapists? Are you familiar with working with clients who do a lot of self-study in addition to therapy?
6. Are you comfortable working with a client who may be participating in outside groups, classes, or therapy?
7. Are you comfortable working with a client who wants to be a co-leader of the therapy process, and ultimately in charge of a plan forward?
8. Would you ever change a diagnosis for a client, or give an additional diagnosis without consulting your client?
9. Are you comfortable working with a client who has had several therapists at this clinic?
10. In your absence, are you comfortable working with a client to find a ‘back up’ plan that works for her, including utilizing services of my Wellness Advisor?
11. What therapeutic experience do you have working with clients who have complicated grief, including the losses within traumatic events, loss of family members to suicide, murder, and institutional abuse, and loss of pets?
12. Are you comfortable working with a client who has a strong sense of privacy and relevancy regarding their treatment notes and input?
13. What availability outside of sessions do you have, if any?
14. How long have you lived in (our city)? Are you familiar with the organizations and agencies here who work with mental health and disabilities?
15. Can you explain how your degree, experience, and interest fits into working in a this area/clinic?
16. Do you recognize the emerging research on inter-generational and genetic trauma? If so, do you believe there is additional work to be done with clients who are likely to be subjects of inter-generational trauma?

 

Mine

  1. What do you believe about multiple personalities?
  2. Are you comfortable about me including Christ in my healing process?
  3. What is your background in trauma treatment?
  4. What are my options between appointments if I am feeling overwhelmed?
  5. Are you comfortable with me writing emails?  I understand you may not be able to answer them before a session, can I send them?
  6. What are some of your methods of treatment?

Each person’s list may look very different.  Also a counselor that is good for one person may be disastrous for someone else.  We are not created equal, our traumas are not the same, these questions are suggestions as to what you might add to your list and generate ideas to create your own list of questions.

I find it helpful to actually write them down and take notes during the conversation.

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